BRENDAN RODGERS has hailed the work ethic of his Liverpool squad ahead of tonight's opening friendly against Toronto at the Rogers Centre.
The Reds boss is relishing the first match of his Anfield reign following a successful training camp in Boston this week.
Rodgers has been delighted by the way the players have responded to the changes he has put in place.
“This tour has been brilliant,” he said.
“We have done a lot of good work and I've got to say the players have adapted very well. There are big demands on the way I ask players to work in terms of the pressing and the hunger I want to see to win the ball back so they need to be in tip-top condition.
“To play at a top club like this you have to have the technical, physical, tactical and mental attributes. So far what I've seen from the players has been terrific.
“They have given me everything every single day. They walked off the field at the end of every day having worked but I know when they jump into the shower and go back to the hotel for their dinner they have enjoyed it.
“We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us but I've been really satisfied with the early stages.
“With this being the first game it will be a proud occasion for me and we want to be competitive in these tour matches.”
The squad flew from Boston to Toronto yesterday and trained at the Rogers Centre last night ahead of today's game, which kicks off at 9pm UK time. Rodgers confirmed that no Liverpool player will play more than 45 minutes.
Toronto head coach Paul Mariner is looking forward to going up against a club he met many times during his successful playing career in England during the 70s and 80s.
The former Ipswich striker said: “The legacy of the Liverpool team is as good as anything.
“And the cathedral Anfield, I’ve played there many times. It’s an unbelievable place to play. The fans are so smart.
“They give you a round of applause even if you’ve beaten them.
“So to play against Liverpool at Rogers Centre in front of such a large crowd, your adrenalin is going to be flowing.
“It’s a great honour to play against them and we want to try and give a good account of ourselves.”
Toronto, who are bottom of the Eastern Conference, have won their last three games in Major League Soccer but Mariner intends to rest players today with one eye on next weekend's clash with Houston
“Some of the youngsters are going to get a real nice treat on Saturday,” he added.