With £40million of new talent signed this summer, boss Rafael Benitez knows that his squad must maintain a challenge for the title from the beginning to the end of the 2007-08 season. They complete their fine-tuning later on Friday in Rotterdam against Shanghai Shenhua and then play Feyenoord on Sunday, with Dirk Kuyt looking forward to facing his former club. But all eyes will be focused on the following week's opener away to Aston Villa, with first-team coach Alex Miller spelling out the obvious requirements of the new season. He said at Thursday's official launch of the Port of Rotterdam tournament: "In the last two seasons we haven't made good starts but hopefully it will be different this year. "We have made one or two changes to our training programme which we believe will help us start really well. "The competition is so tough in England that it's so important you get off to a good start and that will be our aim from the moment we kick off at Aston Villa. "We have added some players who we believe will help us be a better squad and we are hoping they gel really quickly with the rest of the squad. "I'm not stupid enough to say this is going to be our year or that we're going to win it, but we will certainly be challenging. We have a good set of players and we will take some beating." Skipper Steven Gerrard is equally confident that the club's build-up has been spot-on, adding: "We played two tough games out in Hong Kong in conditions last weekend that were high in humidity and heat. "They were good workouts for getting the fitness levels up and closer to where they need to be to start the Premier League season the way we want to. "We could not have asked for better conditions to get to know each other. I said before we went it would be good for team bonding and that is what happened. "The new lads have got a feel for us and we have got a feel for them. I knew the boss had signed good players, lads who would improve the starting line-up, but after working with them over the last fortnight I'm even more confident they will be great acquisitions for us." Kuyt can expect a hero's return to the De Kuip stadium, where he made his name before last summer's £9million move to Anfield. He said: "The other Liverpool players have asked me about Feyenoord, the club and what to expect from the crowd. "I have told them they can expect something special and I am certainly looking forward to the game and my return to Rotterdam. "It is almost one year ago now that I left, and I am certainly happy to be back here to play this weekend. "I want to show the crowd as well as myself that I am a better player now."