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Napoli    v    Liverpool

Category: England

Published: 20th Oct 2010 11:39:16

Europa League - Group KVenue: San Paolo Stadium Date: Thursday, 21 October Kick-off: 1800 BSTCoverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and live on ITV4

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has left striker Fernando Torres and captain Steven Gerrard out of Thursday's Europa League trip to Napoli.

Hodgson wants to keep the star duo fresh for Sunday's vital Premier League clash against Blackburn at Anfield.

The Reds will also be without defenders Glen Johnson, who has a hamstring injury, and Daniel Agger, who is ill.

Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen is fit to return to the squad after missing Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Everton.

The Merseyside derby defeat left the Reds 19th in the Premier League table and it is a sign of the club's perilous position that Hodgson feels it necessary to hold back his strongest players for a domestic league game against Blackburn.

"Some of the more important senior players won't travel because their participation on Sunday is going to be so important to us," said Hodgson.

"It's not just a question of playing three matches in a week it's also a question of injury.

"I don't think our squad is so strong that I can afford to risk them."

But Hodgson added that the absence of Gerrard and Torres would give other players a chance to stake a claim for a place in his first-choice line-up.

"It will still be a strong team we put out there and I think it's a chance for some players who have been on the fringes, like David Ngog and others like Ryan Babel who has had very few chances," the 63-year-old Reds boss stated.

"It's yet another opportunity for these players to blast their way into the team and force me to look at them in a different light, to make sure they are players that are first on the list and not down the pecking order."

Liverpool make the trip to southern Italy top of Group K, with four points from two games, two points clear of Napoli and Utrecht.

On the domestic front, Napoli are fourth in the Serie A table, with only one defeat in seven games.

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BBC News, 2010. Napoli    v    Liverpool [Online] (Updated 20th Oct 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/100684/Napoli-v-Liverpool [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]

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