Liverpool’s talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard is set to miss the Champions League trip to holders Real Madrid, as boss Brendan Rodgers prioritises Premier League success.
Veteran Gerrard has been struggling to hit top form so far this season and Rodgers is aware that the league clash with Chelsea at the weekend is more important for his captain to feature in.
However, Rodgers believes that he has options to cover for the likely absence of Gerrard, saying: “In Steven’s case, if he is playing on Saturday I have to look at what is the priority for him and us. If he played against Newcastle and didn’t play on Tuesday night you could say that was the priority.
“There is no doubt that our priorities are the Premier League and the Champions League and always in that order.”
If Gerrard does miss out, then Rodgers has the option of handing a start to either Emre Can or Adam Lallana, who both started on the bench for the 1-0 loss to Newcastle United last weekend.
Real brushed aside the Reds 3-0 at Anfield two weeks ago and are 1.23 to secure victory in the Bernabeu, while they can be backed at 4.20 to become the first side in the Champions League era to retain their title.
However, that victory on Merseyside was the Spanish giant’s first over Liverpool in four European meetings.
In 2008-09 the Reds won 1-0 in Madrid and 4-0 at Anfield to secure a 5-0 aggregate success in a Champions League tie, while a late Alan Kennedy goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 European Cup final victory over Real in May 1981.