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Aug 3, 2014

Rodgers ready for United battle

The ESPN FC crew preview Monday's ICC final matchup between Liverpool and Manchester United.

The early signs of the post-Suarez era have been promising for Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool have beaten Olympiacos, Manchester City and AC Milan to reach the final of the International Champions Cup, which is being played on Monday at the Sun Life Stadium, home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

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Their opponents -- Manchester United -- have also won every match on tour, including a creditable 3-1 win over Real Madrid on Saturday.

Liverpool last season finished some 20 points above United, who were woeful under David Moyes.

But Rodgers is expecting a much tougher fight from Liverpool's arch-rivals this year thanks to Louis van Gaal's appointment as manager.

"It was unfortunate it didn't work out for them last year, but I would suspect, and they will expect, to put up a greater challenge this year," said Rodgers, who is clearly a fan of Van Gaal.

"Louis is someone I have watched for many years, he is a very experienced manager," he added.

"It was unfortunate what happened with David.

"But I am sure Louis van Gaal will look forward to the challenge of working in the Premier League because it will be different to any other league he's worked in."

Rodgers thinks the rivalry between the two teams could give an extra edge to the match, which is scheduled to be played in extremely humid conditions.

"It will have no bearing on the season, but this is a big rivalry," he said.

"It has been a long couple of weeks and we want to finish it off with a really good game and win it."

Asked about possible drinks breaks during the final, the boss continued: "Arriving in Miami, you sense the humidity; I'm sure that the referee, like they all do, will use common sense.

"The players are still in their preparation phase, still a few weeks away from fitness. It is two teams that are looking forward to finalising the tour and hopefully finishing on a positive note. We've got no worries about the conditions."

The English national team players in Rodgers' squad will be familiar with the setting for the final.

England played Honduras and Ecuador at the Sun Life Stadium in the build-up to their poor World Cup campaign, which saw them exit the tournament in the group stages.

Jordan Henderson, who played in both warm-up games and was a first-choice midfielder during the tournament, says he is over the disappointment of what happened in Brazil.

"You can't afford to dwell on things," the Liverpool midfielder said.

Everyone was disappointed with the World Cup but as soon as it's over you have got to forget about it.

"Now we are here, playing for Liverpool so it's a different ball game. You have to concentrate on what's ahead."

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