Liverpool line-up holds no fears for Coppell

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The Independent Online

The Reading manager, Steve Coppell, cannot understand why so much fuss is made about Rafael Benitez's rotation policy at Liverpool.

The Spaniard came close to overseeing 100 games in a row with differing personnel before surprising everyone by naming an unchanged side earlier in the week. And although Coppell admits he has no idea which players will face the Royals at Anfield on Saturday he pointed out they would all be well-known faces.

He explained: "The mighty Liverpool in years gone by once won the League with only 15 players. Times are different, I know that, but you can't question it if he is winning games and trophies. That is the bottom line.

"If the rotation is between fabulous full internationals and kids straight from the reserve team there is obviously a problem.

"But when you are replacing one top quality international with another it is not that big an issue. I have no idea what their team will be. I know Sir Alex Ferguson said the other week it is difficult preparing for them as you don't know what they are going to throw at you but as far as we are concerned they are going to be good players.

"We know their style will be a passing game with terrific individuals, so I fully expect to be playing 11 internationals."

The two sides played each other at Anfield in the Carling Cup last week, with Liverpool edging home 4-3 in the first-ever meeting between the clubs.

Both managers made plenty of changes that night as Coppell always uses cup fixtures to give fringe men starts.

He said: "We had the dress rehearsal the other night and I'm looking forward to going back there. The environment won't be a surprise to us and it is exciting for us.

"I don't think the cup game will have too much bearing on this one other than showing we are capable. They won't be taking us for granted and, in a way, it might have made them more aware of what we are capable of."

That game was part of a four-match losing sequence which also saw Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth get the better of them in the Barclays Premiership.

But Coppell insisted: "It is one of those game where as far as we are concerned - and I have said it about all of the big teams we have played - we have got nothing to lose.

"People may be talking about runs of games, but it is still in isolation a game we can't lose."

Coppell is searching for a strike partner for Kevin Doyle while Dave Kitson remains out of action with a knee injury, with neither Leroy Lita nor Shane Long having enjoyed too much success in recent games.

And with winger Glen Little, one of the stars of last year's promotion side, pushing for a recall on the right flank, summer signing Seol Ki-Hyeon could find himself pushed further forward.

Coppell said: "Glen has got a good chance, but I will sleep on it.

"Playing Seol up front is an option to me. He started off in Belgium as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation, so that is part of my thinking at the moment."

The captain, Graeme Murty, is unlikely to make a comeback from a hamstring problem, however.

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