Hodgson feeling Europa pressure

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson says he may yet use his more senior players in this Thursday’s Europa League third qualifying round first leg away to FK Rabotnicki in Macedonia.

The new manager had previously stated that he didn’t think any of the Reds’ World Cup players would feature in the game, giving them more time to rest and prepare for the new season.

However, with the tie’s legs switched last week so that Liverpool play away first, Hodgson says he will consult with the club’s doctor before selecting the starting eleven.

“I don’t know what to do at this stage,” said Hodgson. “I will have to liaise with them and (head of sports science) Peter Brukner and make a decision by Tuesday on what sort of team I can put out.

“I can promise the Liverpool fans we will put out the best possible team, without compromising the future.
“It is going to be a difficult discussion between myself and Peter because his feeling is we shouldn’t use any of them and I am going to be tempted to say I want to use quite a few of them.

“The only players I will take will be the ones that I definitely think will play a valuable part in the game.
“If we are talking about senior players, it would be players prepared to start the game. I would not take Steven Gerrard there to play for the last 10 minutes as a substitute.”

Most of Liverpool’s World Cup players have now returned to training at Melwood, where they met up with the rest of the squad today following their pre-season preparations in Switzerland.

In total, Liverpool had 13 representatives at the World Cup Finals in South Africa, including new signings Milan Jovanovic and Joe Cole.

FK Rabotnicki vs Liverpool gets underway at 7.45pm this Thursday, 29th July. Stay tuned to This Is Anfield this week for more on the game and team news.