Liverpool happy to let their leading players skip European tie with Hearts

 

Liverpool have omitted Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson for tonight's Europa League qualifying play-off first leg at Heart of Midlothian.

Also missing from the squad is the left-back Jose Enrique, who missed Saturday's defeat at West Bromwich Albion with a knee injury, and Joe Cole, who came off injured at The Hawthorns.

The assistant manager Colin Pascoe admitted that the club's policy of resting key players during their European campaign would be maintained should they make further progress.

"You have to rotate the players because you play on a Saturday, then a Thursday and a Sunday, so it's an opportunity for all the players to perform. One minute you are in the Europa League and the next we will be playing Manchester City, then it's the second leg against Hearts followed by Arsenal."

For Hearts, the former Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman is likely to make his debut after first-choice Jamie MacDonald's pregnant partner was admitted to hospital. The Hearts manager, John McGlynn, said yesterday: "I got a text from Jamie. His partner is in the hospital and has been since four o'clock this morning but there is no baby yet. We just need to see, when the baby does arrive, how Jamie is feeling."

Kick-off 7.45pm

Referee F Meyer (Ger)

Odds Hearts 6-1 Draw 3-1 Liverpool 1-2

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