Liverpool vs Hearts: kick off, injuries, TV and key players
NARROWLY missing out on holding their English Premier League opponents to a credible 0-0 draw, Hearts travel down to Liverpool in the hope of upsetting the odds at Anfield and progressing to the Europa League group stages.
Brendan Rogers fielded a near-second string lineup last week at Tynecastle, with first-choice players such as Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Luis Suarez missing out. After surviving a few scares, and needing to rely on a late own-goal from Hearts defender Andy Webster to give them a 1-0 victory, the former Swansea manager may choose to pick a stronger starting XI for the return leg.
DATE: Thursday, August 30
TV CHANNEL: ESPN
Marius Zaliukas is expected to shake off the dead leg that saw the Lithuanian substituted at half time during his side’s 0-0 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie, but looks set to start at the back for the capital side tonight. Mark Ridgers and Jamie Hamill are long-term absentees.
Lucas Leiva is the only injury concern for Liverpool, with the Brazilian midfielder today ruled out for three months with a thigh injury. Other than that, Rogers has a full squad to choose from, with new loan signing Nuri Sahin an option.
Until last week’s clash at Tynecastle, the two clubs had only ever met in friendlies; the most recent being on February 16, 1929, with Hearts running out 3-2 winners. The Edinburgh side have racked up five victories, with Liverpool registering a 2-1 win on March 6, 1897 in the other match.
1/6 Liverpool win
16/1 Hearts win
Hearts defender Ryan McGowan kept Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling quiet for the majority of the first leg, and John McGlynn will be looking to the Australian for a repeat performance. Likely to play a 4-5-1 formation, the pressure is on John Sutton for the goals, but will be looking for support from Arvydas Novikovas and the much-admired David Templeton.
Brendan Rogers may recall some of the stars he rested for the Tynecastle match, hinting that some players who missed the first leg will line up on Thursday night. Uruguayan international Luis Suarez and England midfieldier Steven Gerrard could well be included as Rogers looks to record a comfortable victory.
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