LIVERPOOL, July 26 – Roy Hodgson says he could turn to Steven Gerrard earlier than expected for the first leg of Liverpool's Europa League qualifier against Rabotnicki on Thursday.New coach Hodgson had planned to give more recovery time to Liverpool captain Gerrard and his England team-mates Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson and Joe Cole after their efforts at the World Cup.
Liverpool’s medical team have advised Hodgson it is too soon to use the international players, who have been back in pre-season training for just over a week.
But the former Fulham boss is keen to make a good impression in the third qualifying round tie in Macedonia and he is contemplating selecting a more experienced side than orginally planned.
"I don’t know what to do at this stage," said Hodgson, who led Fulham to the Europa League final last season.
"I will have to liaise with them and (head of sports science) Peter Brukner and make a decision by Tuesday on what sort of team I can put out.
"It is going to be a difficult discussion between myself and Peter because his feeling is we shouldn’t use any of them and I am going to be tempted to say I want to use quite a few of them.
"The only players I will take will be the ones that I definitely think will play a valuable part in the game.
"If we are talking about senior players, it would be players prepared to start the game. I would not take Steven Gerrard there to play for the last 10 minutes as a substitute."
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s two Argentina internationals Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez have returned to pre-season training after their post-World Cup holiday.
Hodgson is keen to talk to Mascherano about his future after failing to establish contact with the player amid rumours linking him with a move to Inter Milan, now managed by former Reds boss Rafael Benitez.
Mascherano did not answer his phone or return a call from Hodgson while he was on leave in his homeland, but he returned to Liverpool’s Melwood training centre on schedule to begin preparations for the new season.