We can embarrass Liverpool - Rueda

Liverpool loan signing Nuri Sahin. Photo: PA

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits he is trying to protect the club's Premier League season by fielding a virtual reserve side in Europe.

The Reds have had their worst start to a campaign in 100 years, with just two points from their opening four matches, and it does not get any easier with arch-rivals Manchester United heading to Anfield on Sunday.

As a result captain Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Jose Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly have all been left behind for tomorrow's Europa League clash with Swiss side Young Boys.

It means the likes of Samed Yesil, Suso, Andre Wisdom, Conor Coady, Adam Morgan, Jack Robinson and Dani Pacheco have all been included in the Europa League squad - which has an average age of just 21 and includes seven teenagers.

"I can understand why people would perceive us as not taking it seriously but I will always do what is in the best interests of the football club,'' said Rodgers.

"I look at Real Madrid v Manchester City last night and Samir Nasri came off with an injury but they have a massive squad who can accommodate that.

"If I lose some of my key players that can make it very difficult for us for the next two or three months.

"No matter what the perception is I know in my own mind I've brought a team here which has a mixture of experience and talented young players.

"I am fully aware that when you pull on a Liverpool shirt you are expected to win the games so I've brought a team I believe can win the game."

Young Boys coach Martin Rueda has warned Liverpool they have taken a risk bringing an under-strength squad to Switzerland.

"I do not think Liverpool can afford to turn up without their best players,'' he said.

"Especially since they did not shine in the early season, taking just two points from their first four games.

"That makes me say that we are not far from them. We can embarrass Liverpool."

Every player wants to play Champions League but I am not the type of person to say it is a step down.

The Europa League is a very good competition also and we will try to go to the end.

I played this competition with Borussia Dortmund and it is a difficult competition and when the Champions League teams come down after their first group stage it becomes a very good competition.

– Nuri Sahin on the UEFA Europa League.