Liverpool lie third in Group A following the home defeat by Udinese and host the Russian league leaders on Thursday knowing another Anfield setback will seriously undermine their qualification prospects. As a consequence, and despite facing the first Merseyside derby of his Liverpool reign at Everton on Sunday, Rodgers will not make wholesale changes for the visit of Guus Hiddink's Anzhi.
Suárez is Liverpool's only available senior striker following injury to Fabio Borini and the loan departure of Andy Carroll, but will not be spared ahead of the trip to Goodison Park. Likewise Gerrard, Liverpool's 32-year-old captain, plus Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, the first-choice central defence who are expected to be retained against Samuel Eto'o, the highest paid player in the world following last year's £21.8m transfer from Internazionale.
"Eto'o is fantastic, a household name, but we have good defenders like Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel who will let him know they're around," said Liverpool's assistant manager Colin Pascoe. "Anzhi are a strong unit, a big team as in big players.
"We have swapped and changed things around in Europe before this season but we are looking at this as a very important and hard game, and will probably go a bit stronger than we have done before. We are at home and we put the onus on ourselves to win against tough opposition."
Hiddink and the sporting director Roberto Carlos were among an Anzhi contingent who laid a wreath at the Hillsborough memorial following training at Anfield on Wednesday. Bankrolled by the Dagestan-born oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, the group leaders will be without the injured Lassana Diarra at Anfield but can still boast Eto'o, Lacina Traoré and Mbark Boussoufa in a side beaten once in 21 matches this season. "There is only one way they are going and that is the Champions League," added Pascoe.
One senior figure who will be missing for Liverpool is José Reina, who missed the win over Reading with a hamstring strain and will be assessed at the weekend over his availability for the derby. His replacement, Brad Jones, believes it is premature to claim the Spain international's place is under threat at Anfield.
The Australian keeper said: "I haven't played two games on the bounce yet so I'm not going to say that I should be playing every week. That's not the case. If I can do well and give the manager a headache, then great. That's what I'm here to do."
Liverpool probable 4-3-2-1 Jones; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Robinson; Shelvey, Gerrard, Sahin; Downing, Assaidi; Suárez.
Anzhi Makhachkala probable 4-4-2 Gabulov; Logashov, Samba, João Carlos, Gadzhibekov; Agalarov, Boussoufa, Shatov, Zhirkov; Eto'o, Traoré.
Referee Bas Nijhuis Netherlands
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