Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could make the decision to rest Steven Gerrard during tonight’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid, as he regards the weekend fixture with Chelsea as more important.
According to The Guardian the Northern Irish manager wants to keep Gerrard as fresh as possible for the crunch Premier League clash at Anfield this Saturday, and at the moment the former England captain has only sat out of Capital One cup games this season.
Liverpool in Europe
In the Champions League Liverpool are currently involved in a three-way battle for the second qualification place, as tonight’s opponents have raced ahead of the competition, leaving the Reds, FC Basel and Ludogorets all on three points.
Yet Rodgers appears to be prioritising his encounter with Jose Mourinho’s high-flying Blues, as he’s prepared to allow his skipper to sit out of the action at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“In Steven’s case, if he is playing on Saturday I have to look at what is the priority for him and us. If he played against Newcastle and didn’t play tomorrow night you could say that was the priority," Rodgers explained.
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“In Steven’s case, if he is playing on Saturday I have to look at what is the priority for him and us. If he played against Newcastle and didn’t play tomorrow night you could say that was the priority"
In what promises to be a gruelling experience, particularly now that Gareth Bale has been declared fit to return to his duties, Liverpool will face off against a Madrid side that are in imperious form, having won their last eleven games on the bounce in all competitions.
On top of that Carlo Ancelotti knows that a win tonight will ensure passage into the last 16 with games to spare, and so the chances of him fielding a weakened team are slim to none.
With that in mind Reds fans will likely be hoping to see Rodgers field the strongest team possible; a notion made all the more pertinent given the fact that Daniel Sturridge remains a serious doubt to start.
Poor Premier League form
Lacklustre form in the Premier League has seen spirits lowered on Merseyside, and a good run in Europe’s elite competition would go some way to installing some optimism into the camp.
Liverpool’s squad however, regardless of the mass influx of players over the course of the summer, appears to be feeling the effects of the extra games this term, and Gerrard’s 34-year-old legs don’t look likely to be risked with the weekend’s game in mind.
The same report even claims that Raheem Sterling could also sit out, whilst the duo of Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana - neither of whom saw action during the recent defeat to Newcastle - could return to the starting fold.