Milan Jovanovic has joined fellow first team players Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Daniel Agger & Maxi Rodriguez in missing the trip to Turkey as the Reds take on Trabzonspor in the 2nd leg of their Europa League tie.
Jovanovic is expected to be back in contention for Liverpool’s home Premier League tie with West Brom on Sunday along with Torres & Gerrard. The Serbian winger was left out of the traveling party after suffering with tiredness as he begins to adapt to the pace and demands of the English game.
Hodgson explained: “He’s very, very tired after Monday’s game. It’s all a bit new for him. He’s played every game and played more minutes than any other of our players.”
“Like Fernando, it would have been a bit risky to push him into the game tomorrow night.”
Earlier in the day Liverpool had confirmed that Captain Steven Gerrard was ruled out with a back problem and that they had decided not to risk Fernando Torres playing a third successive game so quickly having just returned from injury. The squad omissions continued with Daniel Agger, having some side effects after the Man City game, following the concussion he received during the visit of Arsenal and also Maxi Rodriguez ruled out with a stomach virus.
Hodgson: “Steven Gerrard unfortunately has had a recurrence of the back problem which he gets from time to time. Hopefully it won’t stop him playing on Sunday”
“The same applies to Agger for Sunday. He played in the game on Monday which was to some extent against medical advice. He wanted to play but felt a bit sick after the game. That’s mainly due to the concussion he suffered, so it would be foolish for us to risk him on Thursday.
“Maxi is sick. He’s in bed at the moment with a bit of gastroenteritis, so he’s out of the question.”
Hodgson added: “With Fernando Torres we’ve made the decision that we don’t wish to risk him three games in a row at this stage of the season with him having done so well to get back this quickly.”
The remaining Liverpool squad now face a tough and hostile tie out in Turkey against Trabzonspor, one of the leading sides in the Turkish league. A place recognised by many pundits and players alike as a difficult place to play, let alone get a result with the intimidating atmosphere. Liverpool had the perfect opportunity to largely kill of the tie in the first leg as a number of opportunities went begging at Anfield, including a penalty miss from Joe Cole. The task in front of them is still very much positively placed but a lot more of a matter than just going through the motions to conclude the tie. With Trabzonspor unable to gain an away goal in the first leg, should Liverpool be able to snatch one themselves then the game could be forced open alot more, which would hopefully allow Liverpool to exploit any space given away.
Hodgson went on to reiterate that the task ahead of his players was no formality:
“We missed a golden opportunity to kill the game off at Anfield and now we’ve got it all to do,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough ask for the players in a difficult place.
“They are one of the two or three best teams in Turkey at the moment and Turkish football is of a very high standard.
“Everyone who’s been to Trabzon tells me it’s a remarkably difficult place to play. They’re a hostile and fanatic crowd and it’s a difficult pitch.
“But if we come through it we’ll come through it stronger.”
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