Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side will not be distracted by the ongoing Luis Suarez transfer saga as they prepare to get their Barclays Premier League challenge under way.

The Reds kick off the new Premier League season against Stoke with the future of their wantaway striker - hotly and publicly pursued by Arsenal - still uncertain.

But Rodgers has backed his side to put off-field issues to the back of their minds and shine on the pitch.

"There's too much good work gone on here for it to be overtaken by anything else," Rodgers said. "The players have worked so hard, their concentration has been brilliant and we are all very determined this year.

"I can't let anything detract from that. Nothing can sabotage what we are trying to do. I don't really want to go on about it. It's just something we cannot afford to happen."

Rodgers believes he starts the new season with a stronger squad than 12 months ago, giving them a much better chance of regaining Champions League status.

Last August Rodgers was embarking on his maiden season at Anfield still trying to ingrain a new way of playing into a squad largely of his predecessors' assembling.

The fixture list has been kinder than last year, when they had to face Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United in their first five matches.

And with no European football to consider Rodgers is confident the work done over the last 12 months, coupled with the four early summer signings of Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto, Manchester City defender Kolo Toure and Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, means they begin in a much better position.

"I think in every way the group is stronger and we still hope to add one or two more before the window closes," he said.

"Everyone has adapted to the way we work and there is a lot of stability at the club.

"The aim over pre-season was to ensure we had enough change within the team: there are going to be certain games this year at certain venues we need to adapt and change.

"We did it last year but did not have the depth to do it on a regular basis.

"We ask everything of the players. They all know their jobs inside and out right the way through the team.

"We are flexible tactically - we will make subtle changes to our structure - but what is important is the type of profile of player you bring in and that is intelligence.

"Last year at home we drew too many games we should've won so hopefully the introduction of more players into the group will give us that chance."