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English clubs need FA's help in Europe: Rodgers

ByCarl Markham

Published 01/10/2015

In charge: Brendan Rodgers takes training yesterday ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Sion
In charge: Brendan Rodgers takes training yesterday ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Sion

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the FA have to do more to assist English teams in Europe after another dismal night in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Losses for Arsenal, at home to Olympiakos, and Chelsea, at Porto, mean there were five defeats in the first six Champions League group matches for Premier League teams this season.

With the top-flight's fourth Champions League place coming under increasing threat as England's co-efficient worsens, Rodgers, whose side face FC Sion tonight in the Europa League, thinks greater assistance should be given to help lessen the demands of domestic football.

"The competition in the Premier League is like no other if you speak to the players and managers who have worked in Europe and then come here," he said.

"The intensity and physicality of the games is much greater for the English teams than it is for any other team in Europe.

"I think we can do more to support teams in Europe. It happens with the other federations in other countries, they really help.

"Porto, who played last night, played on Friday so they got permission to move their game which keeps them fresh."

Rodgers thinks the week-to-week competitiveness of the Premier League, plus a packed fixture calendar, works against sides when it comes to taking on continental opponents.

"The intensity, the way it is played, the demands on the players - in other countries some of the big teams in European leagues can change five, six or seven players and still win the game and put out a really strong team for the next game," he added.

"It doesn't happen in this country. The physicality of the Premier League is like no other.

"I think big teams abroad can win games at 70 per cent and conserve their energy - there is no game in the Premier League where you can do that.

"They (European clubs) have a domestic competition less to cope with as well; we have two domestic cup competitions in this country where the others have one.

"It all adds up to physically being difficult for Premier League teams. It is something we have to cope with and we respect that challenge but it means you really have to monitor and get the best out of the players you have available."

Meanwhile, Rodgers is happy for Daniel Sturridge to join up with England next week - but he will tell the Football Association the striker - who will not play for Liverpool against Sion tonight as he is being rested for Sunday's Merseyside derby - is not ready to play in both the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

England manager Roy Hodgson names his squad for the final two qualification games today.

Rodgers would have no qualms with Hodgson if he selected the 26-year-old, but given that he has just come back from a five-month injury lay-off, the Reds manager feels he must be used sparingly.

"Not at the moment, no," Rodgers said when asked if Sturridge could play two games in four days.

The Ulsterman plans to speak to Hodgson about Sturridge's fitness, and he appears relaxed on the idea of him joining up with England next Tuesday.

"The guys with England are intelligent enough and will understand and I am sure at some point we will have a conversation before they meet up," Rodgers added.

"He is a player who is coming back (from injury) and Roy and his staff are intelligent enough to see that and I am sure he will be managed accordingly."

Belfast Telegraph

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