BRENDAN Rodgers will be expected to make changes for Liverpool’s Europa League tie at home to Anzhi with the first Merseyside derby of the season taking place on Sunday.
In goal, Brad Jones is expected to keep his place due to Pepe Reina’s hamstring injury. Though Reina should be fit for the Everton game, the Spaniard told liverpoolfc.com that he didn’t want to risk making his injury worse by playing. Reina was full of praise for Jones after his performance in the 1-0 victory over Norwich, describing the Australian keeper’s performance as “excellent”.
With Fabio Borini set for three months out after breaking his foot, Rodgers may turn to Samed Yesil upfront in order to rest Luis Suarez. Other key players such as Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel may also find themselves dropped in order to keep them fit for Sunday.
These changes could see starts for the likes of Jamie Carragher, Sebastian Coates and Jordan Henderson – all of whom featured the 3-2 defeat to Udinese earlier this month.
Liverpool are playing Anzhi for the first time in their history, while Anzhi have never before faced an English club in European competition. However, Liverpool’s rich opponents have a number of well-known players at their disposal, including ex-Premier League stars Yuri Zhirkov and Christopher Samba, as well as former Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o.
Anzhi are managed by Guus Hiddink, who used to manage the Russian national side, while Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos serves as Director of Football. They are currently two points clear at the top of the Russian Premier League and are first in Group A with four points.
After losing to Udinese in their last Europa League fixture, another home defeat would seriously harm Liverpool’s chances of advancing from the group. The Merseyside derby might be our priority, but the Anzhi game is a must-win match for Liverpool.