Rodgers to call on key duo for Anzhi
Brendan Rodgers is ready to risk Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard against Anzhi Makhachkala in a bid to keep alive Liverpool's Europa League hopes.
Rodgers is expected to resist the temptation to rest both players ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby, because he feels it is important to maintain a realistic possibility of European progress.
Liverpool lie third in Group A after losing at home to Udinese three weeks ago, and Rodgers knows that defeat against the Russian league leaders at Anfield on Thursday will severely damage his side's chances of reaching the last 32.
Suarez is Liverpool's only fit senior striker after Andy Carroll left for West Ham on a season's loan and Fabio Borini suffered a foot injury, and is set to figure in a strong selection.
So too is captain Gerrard, who has started only one of Liverpool's six Europa League matches this season. Both he and Suarez featured as substitutes during the defeat against Udinese.
Colin Pascoe, Rodgers' assistant, indicated that first-choice defenders Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger would also be in the team to face the threat of Anzhi striker Samuel Eto'o, the highest-paid player in the world following his £21.8 million move from Inter Milan last year.
"Eto'o is fantastic, a household name, but we have good defenders like Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel who will let him know they're around," Pascoe told the Guardian. "Anzhi are a strong unit, a big team as in big players.
"We have swapped and changed things around in Europe before this season but we are looking at this as a very important and hard game, and will probably go a bit stronger than we have done before. We are at home and we put the onus on ourselves to win against tough opposition."