Wednesday, 21st November, 2012
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has claimed that he respects the Europa League despite it not being his priority this season and despite fielding weakened teams on a regular basis.
Rodgers leads his side into battle against Swiss Super League club Young Boys tomorrow, knowing that victory at Anfield, along with Udinese failing to beat Anzhi Makhachkala, would be enough to book a spot in the knockout round of the competition for the Reds.
Rodgers will continue his policy of making changes for Europa League matches, giving fringe players and young hopefuls a chance to impress, but he stresses the side he puts onto the pitch will still be a strong one.
"We’ll have a strong team. I will make changes in the game – I have to respect that we’ve got a really busy schedule now over the course of the next 10 days", Rodgers told his club’s official site.
"From tomorrow we’ll have four games in 10 days, and that’s a big ask to keep the same group of players playing in all of those."
And the Northern Irishman insisted that he has total respect for the Europa League, even though he appreciates it comes down the list in terms of his priorities for the season and he must take into account his limited squad depth.
"You want to be in these competitions, as a manager and a coach and a player you want to be playing in European competition. It will be easier for us going forward once we’ve supplemented the group and I’ve got the right strength in depth", he said.
"The competition has been fantastic, we’ve got some good results in it, some excellent performances, and we’ve gained some young players out of it. Our focus is to win the game and if we can qualify at the end of it, it will be a good night.
"I know what my priority is but I also respect the competition and I want to go through in the competition so we’ll be out tomorrow night to win the game and it’s up to ourselves to do that."
Victory for Liverpool would give the Reds a boost going into a crucial period of games, during which Rodgers will hope to move the club up from 11th in the Premier League standings.
After playing the Swiss side, Liverpool travel to Swansea for a date with Rodgers’ old club. After that there is a tough midweek trip to face Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, before hosting strugglers Southampton at Anfield.
That run of games takes Liverpool into December, when the busy Christmas period then awaits.
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