Luis Suarez earns praise for ‘warrior’ spirit
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed the “warrior spirit” of striker Luis Suarez ahead of the second leg of the Reds’ Europa League last-32 clash with Zenit St Petersburg at Anfield tonight.
Suarez looked far from happy to be substituted with 12 minutes remaining of Sunday’s 5-0 Barclays Premier League hammering of Swansea.
The Uruguayan had responded well to the frustration of squandering a number of chances in last Thursday’s defeat at Zenit St Petersburg by scoring in an influential display.
But Rodgers wanted to give the 26-year-old some rest ahead of tonight’s return, when the Reds must overturn a 2-0 deficit to reach the last 16.
Rodgers said: “He just wants to help the team so much. If you look at the guy, coming back after the game at Zenit, when he could have been disappointed having had some chances - he is a real warrior of spirit, and he is a winner.
“He didn’t want to come off. He wanted to stay on and get more goals.”
Daniel Sturridge is ineligible to play, while fellow forward Fabio Borini is ruled out after suffering a shoulder injury in the Swans clash at Anfield.
Defender Martin Skrtel also looks likely to miss out after missing training yesterday.
Chelsea duo Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic will be rested for tonight’s second leg against Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have a 1-0 lead from the first leg and interim manager Rafael Benitez confirmed the pair will be rested with Sunday’s trip to Manchester City in mind.
Striker Demba Ba is cup-tied after previously featuring for Newcastle and midfielder Oriol Romeu is out with a long-standing knee injury.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has resisted the temptation to throw Hatem Ben Arfa back into action in Kharkiv tonight.
The French midfielder, who has been sidelined since December by a hamstring injury, is back in training, but Pardew has Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Southampton, rather than tonight’s Europa League second leg tie, in mind.
Davide Santon has been rested, while fellow full-back Mathieu Debuchy and striker Yoan Gouffran are ineligible, but January signings Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko are all included.
Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel has warned his side not to take anything for granted as they travel to France to take on Lyon after winning the first leg 2-1 last Thursday.
“It’s two good teams both trying to progress and it’s by no means a massive advantage – just a small advantage,” he said.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east