Thursday 18 January 2018

Hodgson ready to rush Reds' World Cup crew back for Euro tie

Rory Smith

ROY Hodgson has admitted he may have to risk some of Liverpool's World Cup contingent to ensure the club are not forced to rely on youth team players in their Europa League qualifying tie on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher, as well as the likes of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, only returned to training last week after extended leave following their exertions in South Africa, and the club's Argentine, Spanish and Dutch players are yet to return.

That has forced Hodgson to begin pre-season games -- a draw with Grasshoppers Zurich and a 1-0 defeat to Kaiserslautern -- with a side drawn from the ranks of his reserve and youth teams. Liverpool cannot afford to slip up against Rabotnicki in Macedonia.


"We will have to think carefully," said the 62-year-old. "These players deserve credit for the way they went about their business, and the sports science people are keen we do not throw the World Cup people into action, but the Europa League may be a bridge too far for this team."

Javier Mascherano will not feature and is likely to have played his last game for the club. The Argentina captain is expected to be given permission to speak to Inter Milan over a £25m move in the coming days after Liverpool opened communication with the European champions last week.

Hodgson is believed to be closing in on a move for the Wigan and Honduras left-back Maynor Figueroa. The player will leave Wigan this summer and Liverpool remain confident of agreeing a £6 million fee. Figueroa's agent, Jean-Marc Goiran, has confirmed that a "deal is almost in place with Liverpool" for the 27-year-old.

Kenny Dalglish yesterday said he is happy to continue in his role as a club ambassador and work at Liverpool's academy despite being overlooked for the manager's job after Rafael Benitez left Anfield in June. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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