Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Rodgers: Youth may not be answer

Teenager Samed Yesil is on the fringes of Liverpool's first team
Teenager Samed Yesil is on the fringes of Liverpool's first team

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given youngsters their fair share of chances so far this season, but is wary of flooding the first team with them.

Striker Fabio Borini's broken foot has ruled him out for up to three months, leaving Luis Suarez as the only recognised senior striker. There has been a natural assumption that the likes of Adam Morgan, prolific for the youth teams and reserves, and summer signing Samed Yesil, who has an impressive goalscoring record for Germany's Under-19s, will provide the cover.

But Rodgers said: "It is great for me to see the young players. Adam Morgan scored a couple of excellent goals for the reserves and Samed Yesil is a goalscorer. It is just a case of weighing up whether they come in or not."

The pair both turned 18 in the summer, but even though the likes of Raheem Sterling, 17, and Suso, a year older, have broken through into the first team in the last couple of months - along with defender Andre Wisdom - Rodgers knows he cannot accommodate them all.

"Not every young player can play," he added. "This is an unforgiving league and my job is to nurture the talent and not destroy it. We have other players that we may be able to have some flexibility within the team (to cover for Borini)."

In Borini's extended absence, Suarez will be expected to shoulder the burden and he currently leads the club's scoring charts with seven this season.

"It leaves us a bit short, there's no getting away from that, but it's what we've got so we'll just crack on," Rodgers added. "I've rested Luis a couple of times knowing the squad we have and the games we have, looking to prioritise, but like most footballers he wants to play every minute of every game.

"The most important thing is winning games, that is what we need to do and in order to do that as often as we can I need the best players on the field.

"Luis will absolutely love playing three times a week, but I need to try to nurture him because there are still many games to play between now and January.

"And even in January if we bring someone in it may not be January 1, so that is something which, over time, I need to assess and we'll look to manage the squad."

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