Rodgers: Liverpool no Champions League tourists

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side will not be "tourists" on their return to the UEFA Champions League.

The five-time winners will take part in Europe's elite club competition for the first time since the 2009-10 season, and begin with the visit of Ludogorets on Tuesday.

Rodgers, whose side also share Group B with Real Madrid and Basel, says Liverpool are ready for the challenge.

"We are not tourists in this competition - we believe it is where we belong and where we should be playing," he said. "For the players and everyone involved it's something that brings the real excitement, but it isn't a 'giddy' excitement.

“We are Liverpool, we are five times winners of the European Cup and we are synonymous with its best traditions. Our players are excited by the challenges ahead, not daunted by them.

"We have earned the right to be there, that’s the important thing.”

And the former Swansea City boss says Liverpool's participation has started to sink in this week.

"It hits home as soon as you actually see ourselves back in the Champions League how much it can be missed," he added. "I looked at the footballs yesterday. Little simple touches like that lets you know this is where this club has to be.

"It went through a great period for many years at that level and then to be out of it - the struggles it brings when you’re not in it as well.

"We're building here and still a work in progress in many aspects of the football team and the club but it's very important for us to really enjoy it and embrace everything and look to ensure we stay in it.

"I think it’s difficult to get in it and it will be even harder to stay in it. I think that’s the reality of where it's at."