Besiktas vs Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers confident despite injuries

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may have left eight players at home but he remains confident what remains of his squad can get the job done against Besiktas in the Europa League.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Wednesday, February 25, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during a press conference at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport Hotel ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg match against Besiktas JK. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds return to the Ataturk Stadium, venue for their famous 2005 Champions League victory, holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against the Turkish League leaders.

However, they will have to complete the job against a side second in the Turkish Super Lig without vice-captain Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and defenders Glen Johnson and Mamadou Sakho.

Their absences, coupled with the already missing Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva – still working their way back from injury – and the suspended Lazar Markovic, means Rodgers has little room for manoeuvre.

“We’ve got a few injuries. We’re probably out here without eight of our squad who have knocks, some with previous and some who picked up something at the weekend,” said the Reds boss, whose side host Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

“We still have a squad strong enough to hopefully get the job complete but we’ve got a few knocks and niggles from the weekend.”

Gerrard’s absence means Liverpool will have no players who played in the Champions League final almost 10 years ago.

However, the stadium brings back brilliant memories for supporters and the club itself will forever be associated with the venue.

“Of course it was a great historic night for the club and everyone associated with Liverpool respects that,” added Rodgers. “It was a little while ago and there won’t be too many of our players that were involved at that time.

“It’s a real iconic stadium for the club and a big part of that history.

“For us to go there and play with a lot of young players and a new squad against a good team, we’ll look forward to that.”

Besiktas have been boosted by news that Demba Ba and Gokhan Tore have come through fitness tests to make the squad, and coach Slaven Bilic believes his side are more than capable of overcoming their first-leg deficit.

“Liverpool may seem like they have the advantage but we have a big chance of advancing to the next round,” he said. “We need goals but we need to be patient and have to be very composed defensively.”

Liverpool provisional squad: Mignolet, Lovren, Skrtel, Can, Toure, Manquillo, Ibe, Allen, Moreno, Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana, Borini, Balotelli, Lambert, Ward, Lussey, Williams, Fulton, Brannagan, Sinclair.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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