BRENDAN RODGERS is ready to gamble with Liverpool FC’s Merseyside derby ambitions by fielding a strong Europa League side this evening.
The Anfield side entertain Russian league leaders Anzhi Makhachkala needing to avoid defeat to realistically keep alive hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
A 3-2 home defeat to Udinese earlier this month has left Liverpool little margin for error in Group A, which is currently headed by Anzhi.
And Rodgers is poised to turn to Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard – neither of which has yet started in the group stage – despite the Goodison derby being less than 72 hours later.
“We have made changes before in this competition but we are looking at it as a very important and hard game and we probably will go a little bit stronger than we have in the normal rounds,” said Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe.
“Everton v Liverpool is a massive game but it hasn’t been talked about. We are just purely talking about the game against Anzhi.
“We are looking at a lot of factors. We have a lot of games coming up. Anzhi, then Everton, then Swansea, Newcastle, Anzhi again and then Chelsea.
“We are trying to mix it up because we know everyone can’t play every game.
“We are at home and we want to win, but unfortunately we lost to Udinese – even when we went stronger with the subs coming on. Against Anzhi we will go stronger.”