Brendan Rodgers delivered his press conference to the media at Melwood on Monday afternoon ahead of this Wednesday’s League Cup third round tie at Manchester United.
Rodgers has a few injury concerns going into the game with the likes of Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Philippe Coutinho and Aly Cissokho all definitely out.
Danish international defender Daniel Agger was forced to miss last Monday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea after an overstretching accident in the gym the previous day.
Rodgers told press Agger is still struggling with his rib injury, which forced him off prematurely during Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday:
“Agger could be a doubt for the game, he’s not recovered fully. He struggled with his breathing at the weekend.”
Left-back Jose Enrique started the Southampton game on the bench as Rodgers looked to rest him following a knock last week. However, he was called upon as a second half substitute. Rodgers said of the Spaniard:
“Enrique has had a niggle for a few weeks, so we didn’t start him at the weekend. It’s unfortunate that Aly Cissokho is out too. He’ll be available for Wednesday.”
French centre-back Mamadou Sakho filled in for Enrique on the left side of defence against the Saints, but struggled with the wider responsibilities. Expect Enrique to start against United in midweek.
Rodgers has Luis Suarez returning to team selection after 10 matches out – banned for biting Chelsea‘s Branislav Ivanovic in a league game at Anfield in April.
Unsurprisingly there were a lot of questions from the press lobbied about Suarez and his attitude to returning after a summer embroiled in a transfer exit disupute with Liverpool.
Rodgers spoke of the Uruguayan’s passion for playing football:
“Suarez lives for the game, he put everything into a behind-closed-doors game against Burnley this week. The period he’s has been out hurt him. But everyone’s been behind him. His commitment and fight for the cause hasn’t changed.
“Suarez has put what happened in the past and we’re all delighted to have him back. He’ll demonstrate his commitment and gratitude to the club for their support in his performances. We’re behind every player.”
Rodgers was also quizzed on how he and the team are going to bounce back from their first defeat of the season on Saturday:
“The Southampton defeat was hard to swallow. We hadn’t lost in a long time. But we didn’t perform – and Southampton played well. All we can ever do is work hard and keep believing. What I see in the players is focus and hard work. We’ll have ups and downs.”
And finally, Rodgers was asked about the sacking of Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio last night, after just five games of the season.
The Northern Irishman questioned the Black Cats’ decision to replace Martoin O’Neil with the Italian if it has failed so quickly:
“I’m surprised by Sunderland‘s recruitment policy if it’s gone wrong after 5 games. It’s disappointing to see.”
Manchester United vs Liverpool gets underway at 7.45pm on Wednesday, 25th September 2013.