TV schedule gives Man City an advantage over Liverpool says Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the Premier League's television scheduling, saying it gives Manchester City an advantage over his Liverpool side heading into their crucial clash on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the Reds' Europa League last-32, second-leg match with Besiktas in Istanbul, the Liverpool manager has admitted that there will be little time for his squad to rest before taking on the reigning champions.
"It's not ideal, especially if you don't get help, and we're on [TV] when we are in the early kickoff on Sunday," Rodgers said according to the Liverpool Echo.
"There wasn't a great deal we could do about it. We're just trying to manage the situation to try and get the result we need to get us through.
"That extra period of 48 hours that City will have could be crucial, certainly physically. We don't get back until 3 a.m., so we will have very little preparation time. It'll just be about recovery.
"We can't train on the pitch at Anfield, we can't make it any worse than it is, so we're having to train in daylight hours, where we could have trained later in the evening at Anfield. That doesn't help us either.
"The key in it is the rest. At this stage of the season the physical condition of the players is there. What is vital is that sleep and rest.
"They will not rest much going back on the plane, with the adrenaline still flowing after a game. They will not sleep so well. Friday will be about rest. Then we prepare Saturday, game Sunday."
Rodgers has been forced to leave both Philippe Coutinho and vice-captain Jordan Henderson on Merseyside due to fatigue and injury, respectively. They join a long list of Liverpool first-teamers -- including Steven Gerrard (hamstring), Lucas Leiva (thigh) and Lazar Markovic (suspended) -- who are not available for the trip to Turkey.
"I've had to leave out young Coutinho. He hasn't travelled with us," he said.
"He's an outstanding young player for us, a key player and he's played a lot of games consecutively for us.
"This was a game that I'd earmarked to give him some recovery in knowing he can stay at home, not travel and prepare and get ready for the weekend.
"We've also picked up a few injuries -- Jordan has a knock. The rest of the guys are either young or haven't played a great deal."
One player, however, who will be featuring against Besiktas is Daniel Sturridge. The striker is on the road back to full fitness after an injury-plagued start to the 2014-15 season. Rodgers says that this game will be a key match in Sturridge's recovery.
"You can't go into it blind. There's been a lot of planning," he said.
"Having had five months out, Daniel played at Palace and then against Besiktas. It is about managing him and his fitness.
"It's about getting the balance. We take it seriously and want to get through but we also want to progress in the league.
"We've got a lot of players and that's why they were brought in. Obviously we are stretched at the moment."
Despite not being able to field his strongest starting XI, the Liverpool manager says that participating in the Europa League is still worthwhile for the club.
"It is still a European competition. I'd rather be in it than not in it -- that's the reality of it," Rodgers said.
"We are playing a lot of games this season because we've had a successful couple of years. We are doing well, we are in a couple of cups and if we want to maintain that and work well for the coming years we have to get used to a lot of games.
"It is unfortunate but we will do our best. We're winning games and the confidence is high.
"The players have had lots of challenges to overcome this season and we are ready to keep performing. It's the way it's been dealt and we'll deal with it the best we can."