Clarke: Rodgers has plenty of work to do
West Bromwich Albion head coach Clarke returns to Anfield for the first time since he left last summer on Monday insisting that the Reds are a long way off being "a great team" again.
Clarke loved his time as assistant manager to Kenny Dalglish at what he believes is a "great club", but knows Rodgers cannot claim to have built a top side until they are regularly qualifying for the Champions League once again.
Liverpool are some way off the top four and currently sit eighth in the Premier League table, where Clarke and Dalglish left them last season.
Although Rodgers' side appear to be making progress, with just one defeat in their last six games, Clarke is fully aware of the expectations at Anfield - and the top four is the minimum target if Liverpool are to be considered a force again in the English game.
"You can't say they're not a great club, because they are. You can say at the moment they're not a great team because they're not in the top four," said Clarke.
To underline the point, Albion can leapfrog over their opponents with victory this evening, despite not having won in their previous eight games.
"No one in football now thinks just because you are a great historical club, you are going to be a great team," added Clarke.
"Every team has to work at it. Brendan went in there with a different philosophy to Kenny, but Liverpool have always tried to play good football. They did that under Kenny.
"Brendan had slightly different ideas which took time to get across. But you can see now the team is starting to gel."
As well as trying to stop Liverpool's progress, Clarke hopes to draw a line under the Peter Odemwingie saga.
The Nigerian striker has accepted a fine of almost £80,000 after trying to force through a move to QPR and could be included in the squad.
Clarke said: "It's all about putting it right on the pitch. If you could choose for those events not to have happened, then you would."