Hodgson defiant on team selection

The Reds are missing 7 first team players with Steven Gerrard joining Maxi Rodriguez and Daniel Agger on the sidelines; however the former Fulham boss has decided to rest Milan Jovanovic, Fernando Torres and Danny Wilson while Javier Mascherano is still being left out following his transfer situation.

“In leaving a player like Torres out of this game to make sure he can play on Sunday (against West Brom) I am not capable of saying this is the priority,” he explained.

“We decided it would be unwise for him to travel as he played virtually a full game on Monday night, the situation with his knee (last season) and the fact he is still in a pre-season training programme.

“No-one wants to go out at this stage of the season but we’ve been handed the most difficult draw.

“The task will be a tough one but there is no doubt, come May, our league position will be of more interest than how well we fared in the Europa League so I don’t make any apologies.

“But if we don’t go through it will be because we won’t have been good enough to secure our passage, or the attitude was wrong or the desire to progress was not there.”