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Liverpool boss Hodgson: Good for Gerrard to have rest

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has played down Steven Gerrard's absence from their squad for the Europa League tie with Utrecht.

Hodgson dismissed suggestions there were any injury concerns about Gerrard, who has scored three of Liverpool's last four goals in the Barclays Premier League.

"We decided we would spare him because if he is playing three games in a week we might lose him for a longer period," he said.

"Luckily in central midfield I have plenty of options so it was a possibility not to use him in this game, which we think will serve us in good stead in the future.

"He suffers from back pain and we didn't want to exaggerate that by playing him Thursday and Sunday.

"If this had been a decisive game in the group and we needed a positive result to get us through he would have played.

"Gerrard's fitness is the least of my concerns."

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