Fresh as a daisy
With Liverpool about to re-enter the Champions League for the first time since 2009 when they face Bulgarian side PFC Ludogrets at Anfield on Tuesday, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers believes that his side will be able to cope with the physical demands that come along with such a busy schedule.
The Merseyside outfit brought in nine new signings over the summer in attempt to not only bolster their numbers, but the depth of quality at their disposal — something the Northern Irishman has identified as key to building on last years successful league showing. “It’s very important to be able to rotate, but also to maintain the consistency from the team and I think the best sides are able do that,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Aston Villa. “There will be changes in games, but there won’t be wholesale changes because as I’ve said, you still need that core group of players to get you through. We’ve planned the teams out for the next five games all the way through to Everton, but of course you have to allow for injuries and such.”
Hitting the next level
Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling’s stock has gone from strength to strength since firmly cementing his place in the Reds starting eleven last season. The youngster was one of England’s only bright spots during a dismal World Cup campaign, and with a fantastic start to the season under his belt, he’s on course to show the Premier League why he’s being tipped as a future mega-star.
While he’s not quite being spoken of with the same reverence as some of his more famous colleagues, the adulation and respect reserved for those at the top of their game looks to be just around the corner. “It has been a quick turnaround, but that is football for you,” enthuses the 19-year old when asked about his path to the top. “It changes within seconds so I am focusing this season on going again and going onto the next level which I know I can reach. I’m determined it is only a matter of time before I get there.”
The Reds get ready
While it’s nice that the international break is over and we can get back to proper football again, Aston Villa’s trip to Anfield couldn’t have come at a worse time for Liverpool.
Well, I suppose things could always get worse, but when you couple the Reds poor home record against the Villains with their rash of injuries, it’s just bad timing all around. Paul Lambert’s side are unbeaten in their last three matches in front of the Kop and blazed to a 2-0 lead during their last visit to Merseyside. That their hosts were able to pull a pair back to share the spoils is of course a troubling side-note, but the customary shivers and shakes before running out at Anfield won’t be quite as prevalent this time around — there’s a real belief about this side now.
Ready to roll
Even though Liverpool are enduring a bit of an injury crisis going into this weekends meeting with Aston Villa, it’s not all doom and gloom on Merseyside with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers confirming that Adam Lallana is in contention for a starting spot on Saturday.
The £25mil man missed much of pre-season, as well as the Anfield outfits opening three matches of the season, after injuring his knee during their tour of North America. It’s taken a while, but he’s back in training and the boss thinks he’s finally ready to make his debut in the famous red shirt. “He’s looked very good. He is obviously short of match fitness, but the only way he is going to get that is by playing” the Northern Irishman told the clubs official website. “He featured in the game we had here at Melwood against Wolves behind closed doors, scored the winning goal and did very well. In training he’s worked very, very hard.”