Brendan Rodgers admits he faces a big decision in whether to play Steven Gerrard in Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Sunderland this Saturday, with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League group stage decider at home to Basel.
Gerrard came on as a second-half substitute in Liverpool’s win against Stoke last weekend, before starting and scoring the second of the Reds’ three goals in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory at Leicester City.
Now the Reds will be looking to build on their form with three points against the Black Cats at Anfield this weekend, however they must beat Basel in front of the Kop on Tuesday 9th December to progress from the group stage of the Champions League.
While the debate continues over Steven Gerrard's future in light of the club's contract offer, which he has not yet accepted, Rodgers has to concern himself with the more immediate issue associated with the midfielder.
Having previously admitted the 34-year-old cannot play three matches in a week, effectively the Reds boss has to decide whether to retain his captain in the starting line-up to face Sunderland on Saturday or hold him back for Tuesday's must-win Champions League tie at home to Basel, which is followed by a trip to Manchester United the following Sunday.
"The only focus is our next game but of course you are having to plan forward and look at one or two teams down the line," said Rodgers, who this week had to quash reports there had been a disagreement between him and Gerrard.
"If you rest someone they are rotated, if they are rotated they are dropped, if he is dropped he is left out so you can't win as a manager.
"I'll always pick a team which I think can win the game."