Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson hopes the Boxing Day match at Blackpool will go ahead as he wants to avoid fixture congestion later in the season.

The Reds' last match at home to Fulham was postponed because of the snow which fell in the north-west so the prospect of a second successive weekend without action would be more than frustrating.

"I'm not planning for it to be called off and I don't think it will be called off," said the 63-year-old.

Blackpool have the Bloomfield Road pitch covered but they do not have undersoil heating - unlike Liverpool's Melwood training ground which has allowed the team to prepare on near-perfect surfaces - and there is always a risk that continued sub-zero temperatures could put the game in doubt.

With their last Barclays Premier League outing the 3-1 defeat at Newcastle, Hodgson is hoping his side will finally have the opportunity to get that out of their system.

He added: "I know Blackpool are working very hard and doing everything they can to get their pitch ready, and I believe they will succeed.

"Of course there are factors beyond people's control but at the moment we're preparing for the game going ahead.

"It is an inconvenience when games are called off, especially when you get two called off and, in Blackpool's case if it were to happen, three called off because it will mean a fixture pile-up later on in the year.

"For teams like ourselves who have still got an interest in the Europa League that could be very irritating, so we would like to get all of the games played on schedule."

Hodgson had some good news ahead of the short trip up the coast after confirming captain Steven Gerrard and defender Daniel Agger were now fit to return.

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#Fulham
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#Newcastle United
#Daniel Agger
#Steven Gerrard
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