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Nov, 7, 2012

Rodgers to ring the changes

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is set to leave Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez out of Thursday's Europa League trip to face Anzhi Makhachkala.

• Blog: Magic hides disappointment

Rodgers is also ready to rest Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Joe Allen in a bid to keep players fresh for Sunday's Premier League match at Chelsea.

Glen Johnson and Pepe Reina will not be risked for the Group A clash in Moscow either, following recent treatment for hamstring problems.

Liverpool will not return from Russia until early on Friday, and Rodgers does not want to over-stretch a relatively thin first-team squad ahead of a crucial league game.

Instead, the manager is likely to give the fringe players who disappointed in the Capital One Cup at home to Swansea a week ago the chance to atone.

Jamie Carragher, one of the few players to emerge with credit from that 3-1 defeat, will captain the side, while there are set to be starts for Oussama Assaidi, Jordan Henderson, Jack Robinson and Sebastian Coates.

Assaidi has been restricted to two substitute appearances in the Premier League since his £2.4 million move from Heerenveen in August, but has made three starts in the Europa League and two in the Capital One Cup.

The Morocco international is still finding his feet at Anfield, but believes he is improving under Rodgers, and is ready to help their bid for Europa League progress.

"Every day I am learning about how to be better," he told the Liverpool Echo. "I want to be better. I go to the gym to make myself stronger.

"My quality is to take on defenders, get a cross in, cut inside and shoot. I hope the fans see more from me.

"The manager's training is very good. He works a lot with the ball and on positioning. I like the way he thinks about football.

"He wants to play football with a 4-3-3 formation and use wingers, which is good for me.

"The manager gives me advice. He tells me that when the ball is on the right I must go inside and that I must go with my full-back when he goes forward.

"He gives us great training sessions and I learn a lot from his training. I think he is a good coach for Liverpool."

Liverpool lead Group A with six points, two ahead of Anzhi and Udinese, with three games played.

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