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Rodgers: Leaving Gerrard, Suarez No Snub to Anzhi


MOSCOW, November 7 (R-Sport) - Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers meant no disrespect when he left captain Steven Gerrard and top-scorer Luis Suarez out of the Liverpool squad for a tricky away game against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday, the Liverpool coach said Wednesday.

Suarez is the only man to have scored in Liverpool's three-game winless run since beating Anzhi 1-0 last month in the Europa League group stage.

"I have the utmost respect for Anzhi," Rodgers said when asked if he had snubbed the hosts, adding that fixture congestion caused the switch.

"Our squad is very thin in numbers and we have a lot of games and a lot of young players. I've had to look at the games where I've had to change the squad around."

Liverpool's morale is strong enough to withstand the absence of a leader such as Gerrard, as well as the loss of Suarez's goalscoring instinct, Rodgers added.

"We haven't left a number of players behind and that'll disrupt our spirit," he said. "The responsibility's with the team to score, not just with one player."

He also rejected claims he had underestimated Anzhi, saying that the Russians had enormous quality in players such as strikers Samuel Eto'o and Lacina Traore.

"A lot of their threat comes through central areas, when Traore plays and Samuel Eto'o plays in behind," he said, adding that "denying the space" would be key and that Liverpool would try "to control and dominate the possession."

The Reds are 12th in the English Premier League after 12 games, whereas Guus Hiddink's Anzhi are challenging for the Russian title for the first time and are second in the top flight.


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