Brendan Rodgers has suggested that he will field a strong side as Liverpool head to Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. With a growing injury list, the Liverpool manager admits that part of that decision is forced upon him but that he is also determined to progress in a competition that arguably presents him with the best chance to get his first silverware at Anfield this season.
"We don't have a lot of choice at the moment," Rodgers said in regard to his team selection, according to Liverpool’s official website. "We've only got 15 players training [due to injuries], and obviously we'll call on some of our younger players to come into the squad. “It's a competition we want to do well in, the history of the club dictates that it's about winning trophies and this game is important for us, so we'll be strong and look to get a good result.”
Liverpool have lost the services of Lucas Leiva, with the midfielder having suffered a knee injury during the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa last weekend. Rodgers also explained that Glen Johnson will not be involved at Dean Court, with the right-back being given time to recover from several niggling injuries that have hampered him for much of the season. Daniel Agger and Jose Enrique remain sidelined.
Liverpool exited the FA Cup to League One outfit Oldham Athletic last season and Rodgers is eager to avoid any complacency that could lead to a similar upset against Championship side Bournemouth.
"You've got one of the biggest clubs in the world coming to the ground, which is a big deal,” he explained. “When you're Liverpool, and you're playing well, I think you're always going to be a scalp.
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"We saw that in our last game against Oldham, who may be in League One, but have some good players who kept the game in the balance all the way through. They made it hard for us and I think this will be a difficult game as well.
"But it's for us to ensure that our mentality is right and that we're willing to do the dirty stuff, and the ugly bits in the game and then you look at your quality to come through in the end."
Bournemouth do have some history on their side in their chances of providing a shock, having held Liverpool to a draw at home in the only two times they have met the Merseysiders in the FA Cup. However, those results were 46 and 87 years ago and Liverpool wet onto win the replay 4-1 at Anfield on both occasions.
Still, having been promoted from League One last season, Bournemouth are going well in the Championship and look well placed to steer clear of relegation. And manager Eddie Howe is keen for his side to play their natural game and not be intimidated by their illustrious opponents.
“I think there’s pressure on us to perform and I want a performance,” he said, according to Bournemouth’s official website. “I want us to play as we always do and try and take our game to Liverpool. I think it’s really important that we don’t change the way we play because it wouldn’t suit us.”
Where to watch: The FA Cup fourth round encounter will kick off at 7.45 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 1, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.