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Mon Apr 21 11:39:13 SAST 2014

Rodgers hopes for magic from jet-lagged Suarez

Sapa-AFP | 19 October, 2012 10:220 Comments
Liverpool v Stoke City - Premier League
Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on October 7, 2012 in Liverpool, England
Image by: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will have to rely on a potentially jet-lagged Luis Suarez to lead his side’s attack as he welcomes former club Reading to Anfield on Saturday.

Rodgers suffered a blow this week when it was confirmed that Liverpool’s only other senior forward, Fabio Borini, is out for three months after undergoing surgery on his fractured foot while on international duty with Italy Under-21s.

  Suarez has travelled 14,420 miles in the past week while back in South America on international duty with Uruguay and Rodgers admits he would ideally like to rest the forward.

  But as Liverpool’s only fit front man he is expected to start against Reading.

  Despite this, Rodgers has denied there is an injury crisis at Liverpool and hinted he has no intentions of recalling England striker Andy Carroll from his West Ham loan in January.

  “I’ve rested Luis a couple of times knowing the squad we have and the games we have, looking to prioritise, but like most footballers he wants to play every minute of every game,” Rodgers said.

  “It is something I need to assess. The most important thing is winning games — that is what we need to do and in order to do that as often as we can I need the best players on the field.

  “Luis will absolutely love playing three times a week but I need to try to nurture him because there are still many games to play between now and January.

  “And even in January if we bring someone in it may not be January 1, so that is something which, over time, I need to assess and we’ll look to manage the squad.

  “It is not ideal, but that is the card we have been dealt. It leaves us short, there’s no getting away from that but it is what we’ve got. We just crack on and look to get positive results.”  Rodgers, looking for his first league win at Anfield, was hit with more worrying injury news when goalkeeper Pepe Reina sustained a hamstring injury while on international duty with Spain in midweek.

  But the manager is still looking forward to facing the club he managed for just six months before he was dismissed in 2009.

  “I am delighted to see where they are,” said Rodgers. “That was my only bad experience as a manager but it was a great learning experience for me.”  Reading’s concern extends beyond trying to prove a point to their former manager with Brian McDermott’s side lying in 18th place after a slow start to life back in the top flight.

  Jem Karacan admits the prospect of facing a Rodgers team means the Royals know exactly what to expect from their opponents, but the midfielder conceded they must step up their level of performance if they are to kick-start their campaign.

  “You know what Brendan’s team is going to be like, you know they’re going to be in your face,” he said.

  “They are going to try and win the ball back high-up the field and going to pass it a lot, and look to break you down so we know what we’re going to get.

  “But we’ll do what we normally do, make it hard for them, and give them a really tough game.”  Striker Adam Le Fondre will head to Anfield having signed a new contract that will keep him at the Madejski Stadium until 2015, having joined the club at the start of last season’s Championship campaign.

  “I think it shows just how far I have come since signing with Reading from Rotherham, the club are now trying to establish themselves in the Premier League and stay up this season,” he said.

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