After the loss to Udinese, we really need a win at home to help us through the group stage. However, it is not as simple as putting out the best team tonight because we play Everton on Sunday. And neither match will be easy. With their newly acquired wealth, Anzhi has been able to attract a number of expensive signings, including Yuri Zhirkov, Samuel Eto’o, Lassana Diarra and Christopher Samba. Roberto Carlos had been active for the club before announcing his retirement earlier in the current campaign. This has given them the impetus to start the current season under the management of Guus Hiddink, and after seven successive wins going into the game against Liverpool including the most recent, a 2-1 win over Spartak Moscow, they now sit top of the Russian table with a two point lead over CSKA Moscow.
With a big game against Everton coming up in a few days, I expect Rodgers to have a dilemma over who to play and who to rest. It makes sense to rest Reina, and give him a few more days recovery while also continue with Jones. Agger, and Johnson are fit, but injury prone and have never played a full season, so they need to be used sparingly. Carra might play, but as we are facing Eto’o it makes sense to play the faster Skrtel.
The midfield and forwards are much harder to predict. We have Cole, Downing, Sahin, Shelvey, Assaidi, Yesil, Pacheco, Sterling, Suarez, Suso, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Morgan all possibilities.
Gerrard is getting slower and less effective and will be on the bench if needed. Shelvey was establishing himself in the first team until his red card, so this is his chance to get back into the team. Suarez and Sterling have played so many games recently that this will be a chance to give them a break before Sunday. I cant see Cole getting on. Downing is much maligned, but in 10 games has got 1 goal and 3 assists and might continue his slow rehab back into the team. Yesil can’t stop scoring for Germany U21, so this could be his chance for LFC. Assaidi is showing great promise so far, and just needs an end product. Henderson is still only 22 and should not be discarded. Expect him to fulfil the Allen role.