Anzhi v Liverpool: We can score without Suárez, insists Rodgers
Anzhi v Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers insists his squad cannot rely on just one player to score goals after resting Luis Suárez
Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool can still score goals without Luis Suárez after the Uruguayan was rested for their Europa League clash with Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday.
The former Ajax man has been Liverpool’s main source of goals this season after Suárez scored his tenth strike in all competitions with a spectacular equaliser against Newcastle on Sunday.
“I look at the team – there is no one individual player that has the responsibility to score goals,” said Rodgers.
“For us, it is very much about the team and there is a responsibility with every player both to attack and defend.
“We’ve got enough talent in the group that travelled here. We’ve got some outstanding players, some young players and some players with great experience.”
Rodgers has also rested other key players including Daniel Agger, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel for the trip to Russia, with the Reds top of Group A and set to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
And the 39-year-old defended his selection policy, pointing to the success of Liverpool’s youngsters in a 5-3 victory over Young Boys in their opening Europa League game and an impressive first-half performance in a 3-2 defeat by Udinese.
“I have the utmost respect for Anzhi, but because our squad is very thin in numbers and we have a lot of games and young players, I’ve had to look at the games and which I can change the squad around [in],” added Rodgers.
“But if you look at the games in this competition, we’ve played three and won two games and have changed the squad around.
“In the first half against Udinese – the game we lost – we played very well.
“There is certainly no lack of respect. We have a good squad here that we feel can get a result and then we can prepare them for this weekend’s massive league game – but our focus is on Thursday night.”
Anzhi Makhachkala v Liverpool: Pre-match facts
• This is Liverpool’s third visit to Moscow, where Anzhi are playing their European home games – they lost 4-2 at Spartak Moskva in the 1992/93 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup, but on their most recent trip, a Michael Owen hat-trick helped them come from behind to win 3-1 against Spartak in the 2002-03 Champions League group stage.
• The 1-0 loss at Anfield was Anzhi’s first away from home in Uefa club competition and only their second reverse in a European game.
• Anji had not lost in Europe since their debut, a 1-0 defeat by Rangers in the 2001-02 Uefa Cup first round. They were the nominal home team on that occasion, but the tie was played as a one-legged affair on neutral territory in Warsaw due to security concerns in Chechnya, which neighbours Anji’s native Dagestan.
• Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey is one of the top scorers in the group stage, level on three goals with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona’s Shimon Abuhazira, Napoli’s Eduardo Vargas, Genk’s Benjamin De Ceulaer and Young Boys’ Raúl Bobadilla.