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Hodgson learns lessons.
Roy Hodgson admitted that the Carling Cup defeat to Northampton had some influence on his decision to pick Fernando Torres in tonight’s squad for the Europa League fixture in Utrecht. Declaring that his star striker is free of injury in The Guardian, he said that picking Torres was an insurance policy.
“One of the benefits of having him here is that when you are drawing or losing to Northampton and you have left all of your best players to prepare for the weekend, then you would like to have your best players to change things,” he rationalised.
No Gerrard but no injury.
Whilst Daniel Agger misses the Utrecht trip through injury, the other name missing from the squad to play on Thursday is Steven Gerrard. Roy Hodgson has moved to assuage fears about the inspirational skipper’s injury problems which have arisen due to his failure to travel with the squad.
“We decided to spare him because if he is playing three games a week we might lose him for a longer period,” he told skysports.com. “He suffers from back pain and we don’t want to exaggerate that by playing him Thursday and Sunday.” Had the game been of sufficient importance, however, Gerrard “would have played.”
Reds chase Auxerre playmaker.
Talksport writes that Liverpool have joined Napoli of Serie A in registering an interest in Auxerre’s Slovenian playmaker Valter Birsa. Birsa was outstanding as playmaker in the 2009/10 Auxerre side which qualified for the Champions League for the first time in eight seasons. Interest in him in England perked up with his performances during the World Cup where his left foot and delivery from set-pieces caught the attention in England’s Group C. With his contract due to expire in the summer, Liverpool may be required to pay as little as £2 million for Birsa.
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