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Saturday 3 December 2016

Hodgson won't risk Reds stars

Jamie Holland

Published 19/07/2010 | 05:00

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has stressed he will not risk damaging the club's Premier League campaign for the sake of progress in Europe.

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The Reds face a potentially tricky Europa League third-round qualifier against Macedonian side Rabotnicki or Armenia's Mika later this month.

Hodgson is likely to have to play both legs, the first scheduled for July 29, without any of his World Cup stars after the club's medical staff warned him about forcing them into action too early after a gruelling and lengthy season.

"Possibly none of our World Cup players will play in the early Europa Cup games if we listen to the advice of the sports science people," said the 62-year-old.

"They are telling me we would be foolhardy to use players who have only been training for three or four days on the back of the World Cup that early on because that will affect us further on down the road.

"If we feel we are endangering our chances of doing well in the Premier League by risking players in the early stage of the Europa League, it will be a decision that the club will have to take. You have to follow the guidance."

Liverpool's England contingent of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson, Denmark's Daniel Agger and Slovakia's Martin Skrtel will all return to individual programmes at the club's Melwood training ground in the coming days, while a squad made up largely of reserves are still at their Switzerland training camp.

Argentina duo Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez are due back next week, while Spain's World Cup winners Fernando Torres and Jose Reina and beaten Holland finalists Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel will not return until after the first leg has been played.

Irish Independent

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