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Thursday 8 December 2016

Dubliner Daniel Cleary gets call as Pool rest key men

Bordeaux v Liverpool, Live BT Europe (ko 6.00)

Daniel Cleary
Daniel Cleary

Dubliner Daniel Cleary is on the brink of a breakthrough for Liverpool and can thank Brendan Rodgers’ squad rotation for a possible opening in  tonight’s Europa League tie in Bordeaux.

Under-fire Reds boss Rodgers will rest some key men for Premier League duty against Norwich on Sunday, prompting him to call up a number of fringe players.

Cleary, a 19-year-old centre-back who has been part of the Anfield set-up since he was11, is making the trip to France hopeful he can build on the form he showed during the pre-season tour to Australia, Malaysia and Finland.

The former Crumlin United man made his debut in July against a Malaysia XI as a 79th-minute substitute for Nathaniel Clyne.

Should Cleary sample game-time during the European campaign, he will end a drought of Irish involvement at Liverpool - almost 11 years have passed since an Irish-born player emerged through the ranks to make his debut for the club’s first team.

Dubliner Richie Partridge’s appearances during the League Cup run of 2004/5 season is the last time a youngster produced in these shores wore the Red jersey, as the likes of Ronnie Whelan and Jim Beglin had done with distinction during the golden trophy-laden period of the 1980s.

Christian Benteke is one of a number of big names restede. The £32.5m summer signing has been left  on Merseyside along with fellow new arrivals James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne, plus first-choice centre-backs Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren and midfielder Lucas Leiva.

Up front, Belgium striker Divock Origi is in line for the first start of his Liverpool career while midfielder Adam Lallana has returned to fitness and is also in contention.

Meanwhile, captain Jordan Henderson has undergone a specialist procedure in the United States in an attempt to cure an ongoing heel problem. The midfielder will seek expert advice from Dr John Cozzarelli.

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