If Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is wary of his side suffering an enormous FA Cup upset at non-league Mansfield Town on Sunday, he failed to show it after revealing that top scorer Luis Suarez could be sidelined for the clash.
The Uruguayan has been in scintillating form for the Reds of late, netting four goals in his last two matches to take his tally to 18 for the season.
But with a number of big matches on the horizon, including next Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to face league leaders Manchester United, Rodgers admitted that he is tempted to protect his talisman on Sunday.
“The players are paid here to play wherever the club ask them,” said the Reds boss.
“Every game is a massive game, whether it is Mansfield away or Manchester United away.
“Luis is a player who loves playing, that is why he is here: to play games and score goals.
“But he’s coming off the back of a real busy period where he’s given everything in the games and scored goals.”
It remains to be seen when Daniel Sturridge will be given his bow after moving to Anfield this week on a long-term deal, but Rodgers hinted that the 23-year-old is unlikely to feature at Field Mill.
The Reds chief added: “Daniel is still catching up a bit on his fitness because he has been out for a period of time.
“He’s looked good in the couple of sessions we’ve had but I’m not looking to rush Daniel into anything.”
Meanwhile Rodgers’s opposite number Paul Cox comes fresh from the altar into the biggest fixture of his career.
Cox married long-term partner Natasha Bertin yesterday, little more than 48 hours before his side host the Reds on what will be the day of his 41st birthday.
“Apparently I agreed to get married if we beat Lincoln in the second round,” said Cox yesterday.
“The way it’s fallen, it is going to be quite a weekend. But it will all be fabulous for me.
“I think the whole town is up for it. There is only a few days to go and everyone is ready for the big game. We want to give a good account of ourselves and make the supporters proud of our players.”
The pick of today’s games begins with Newcastle travelling to Brighton for the midday kick-off, while Crawley host Premier League strugglers Reading at 3pm.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini could recall Mario Balotelli for his side’s home match against Watford after claiming that their training ground bust-up was “nothing special,” and in the best of the
all-Premier League ties, Demba Ba could make his debut for holders Chelsea at Southampton while Joe Cole is set to start against Manchester United at Upton Park.
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