Bolton – Liverpool Preview: Rodgers backs Reds to cope with fixture pile-up

As the matches begin to come thick and fast for the Reds, their manager has expressed trust in his side ahead of their FA Cup replay against the Lancashire outfit

Brendan Rodgers trusts his Liverpool squad to cope with a hectic fixture list and overcome Bolton Wanderers in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay.

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first encounter between the two teams, meaning the sides will go at it again at the Macron Stadium.

The replay comes during a congested run of matches for Liverpool, with Premier League games against Everton and Tottenham to follow before they resume their European duties in the Europa League against Besiktas on February 19.

If Liverpool get past Bolton they will also travel to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round before the Besiktas fixture.

Rather than become concerned by fatigue, manager Rodgers insists his players can contend with the busy schedule.

“When you have so many games, you have to plan forward,” he said.

“But I’ll pick a team to win the game. I have a squad I trust and believe in.”

Departing captain Steven Gerrard – who will move to La Galaxy at the end of the season after a 26-year association with the club – will make his 700th Liverpool appearance should he play a part.

Rodgers paid tribute to his skipper and stated that he is unsure if a player can match Gerrard’s feat in the future.

“It’s a remarkable achievement,” he added. “I’m not sure it will happen again.”

Liverpool head into the fixture buoyed by a well-deserved 2-0 victory over West Ham at the weekend.

That match that saw Daniel Sturridge come off the substitute’s bench to score on his return after being sidelined since August with thigh and calf injuries.

Rodgers believes the striker lifts the performance levels of other players in the team, but the Northern Irishman suggested Sturridge is still not ready to start.

In Bolton, Liverpool face a stern challenge with the Championship club having lost just twice since a 2-1 reverse at Norwich City on October 31.

For manager Neil Lennon – whose side have veteran and former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey among their ranks – the match represents a chance to knock out a team he followed in his youth.

“I followed Kenny Dalglish at Celtic and then at Liverpool,” he said. 

“Watching Liverpool in Europe had a huge impact on me as a young boy. They were the dominant team in England and Europe as well.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *