After Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers shuffled the pack in their first Europa League outing against Bordeaux, the Northern Irishman looks set to follow the same model when Swiss club FC Sion visit Anfield tomorrow as he keeps one eye firmly on the meeting with cross-town rivals Everton at the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the Reds boss confirmed that Daniel Sturridge, who bagged himself a brace against Aston Villa on Saturday, will be one of the players left out of the action.
“We have seen from the game at the weekend he is still building his way towards full fitness,” he said when asked about his star striker in his pre-match press call. “With every individual player you have to assess and analyse where they are physically,” continued Rodgers, seemingly hinting towards the multitude of players they have sidelined at the moment. “Daniel has worked very hard and has come back ahead of schedule but we just have to make sure we don’t break him at this stage.”
Video courtesy of BBC Sport
Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Christian Benteke and Dejan Lovren will all miss out with various knocks; that being said, the focus in this competition — at this early stage anyway — remains squarely on giving those on the edge of the starting eleven and younger players a chance to shine while the regulars get some much needed recovery time. Even though Liverpool won’t be going in with all guns blazing, that doesn’t mean that we’re not looking for the win.
“Our approach to this game is how it’s been in the competition – this is an opportunity for young players and an opportunity for players on the fringe of the team that aren’t getting so many games. Ultimately for us the aim is to win the game,” explained Rodgers before hinting that young duo Divock Origi and Jordan Rossitter will be drafted into the starting eleven. “The real focus on Divock is goals in games, that is what he’ll be judged on. He obviously hasn’t played so much, but he understands where he is at – coming in to such a big club, he knows he’ll be competing for places,” said the Northern Irishman of the Belgian striker before moving on to the Scouse midfielder. “He’s a young player that is developing well. He has a strong personality. He and the other young guys did very well in the last game. He’ll be in contention again for the game tomorrow.”