Thursday, October 21, 2010

Torres Rested For Napoli Clash

Liverpool's manager, Roy Hodgson, is to be without seven of his top players for the Europa League trip to Napoli tomorrow night, resting some with an eye on an increasingly-important match against Blackburn Rovers this weekend. Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles and Lucas Leiva remained on Merseyside when the squad flew out to Naples, while several other senior players remain sidelined due to injury. Hodgson will also be without Glen Johnson, who missed the derby defeat at Everton with a hamstring problem, Daniel Agger, who is ill and Dirk Kuyt who has an ankle injury. Having slipped to second-bottom in the Barclays Premier League after just one victory in eight games, Hodgson is prioritising domestic affairs. "Some of the more important senior players won't travel because their participation on Sunday is going to be so important to us. It's not just a question of playing three matches in a week it's also a question of injury. I don't think our squad is so strong that I can afford to risk them. "But it'll still be a strong team we put out there and I think it's a chance for some players who have been on the fringes, like David Ngog and others like Ryan Babel who has had very few chances. It's yet another opportunity for these players to blast their way into the team and force me to look at them in a different light, to make sure they are players that are first on the list and not down the pecking order." On the current injury problems, Hodgson added: "After being injured, Agger is now sick, so he has ruled himself out. Dirk Kuyt has a wicked ankle injury. Everyone tells me it looks worse than it really is and I certainly hope that is the case because it does not look good. It is still very badly swollen. "Glen Johnson is still out injured but I would hope he would be back in training when we return on Friday – so he's not ruled out for Sunday but is for Thursday." However the manager did confirm that: "Christian Poulsen has recovered and is okay."

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