LIVERPOOL (AFP) - Brendan Rodgers is confident Liverpool can handle the strain of a hectic period which starts with their Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Saturday.
The Reds have five fixtures in three different competitions, including a return to the Champions League after a five-year hiatus, over the course of a next fortnight which will put Rodgers' new-look squad to the test.
Liverpool boss Rodgers recruited 10 players during the close-season and he expects those new arrivals will play a key role in the frantic next 14 days.
"It's very important to be able to rotate, but also to maintain the consistency from the team and I think the best sides are able do that," Rodgers said ahead of Villa's visit to Anfield.
"There will be changes in games, but there won't be wholesale changes because as I've said, you still need that core group of players to get you through.
"We've planned the teams out for the next five games all the way through to Everton, but of course you have to allow for injuries and such." Rodgers does have a number of injury concerns, with England striker Daniel Sturridge (thigh) and Germany Under-21 midfielder Emre Can (ankle) both ruled out after they were injured on international duty.
The Reds are definitely also without Martin Skrtel (knee) and Glen Johnson (hip), while midfielder Joe Allen will have a fitness test on a knee complaint he sustained during Wales's 2-1 win over Andorra.
- Busy period -
Rodgers also confirmed that he gave captain Steven Gerrard some time off during the international break so he could rest and recover ahead of a busy period.
"In 14 years, it was his first international break after giving his country everything, so it was good for him to have that breather and I'm sure he enjoyed it," Rodgers added.
"I also gave him an extra few days off to recover, knowing that we've got a hectic schedule coming up over the next couple of months.
"Steven looks after himself ever so well, he's a great professional. He's coming back this week refreshed and has looked very good." Meanwhile, Villa manager Paul Lambert has drawn a line under the deadline-day 'mayhem' surrounding Tom Cleverley's on-off move - and insists the player is committed to the cause.
With a 7 million pounds (S$14.3 million) move to Villa seemingly disintegrating when the player held out for a switch to Everton, a season-long loan arrangement for Cleverley was eventually revived after a deal between the Toffees and Manchester United failed to materialise.
It only came, however, after Cleverley had convinced Lambert to make a fresh attempt to sign him and Villa now have an option in January to land the England midfielder permanently before he becomes a free agent next year.
Lambert, who could hand Cleverley his debut on Saturday, said: "The first impression, he's a top player.
"I'm delighted he's here. All that speculation about not wanting to be here - that's not the impression I got when I spoke to him.
"Deadline day is mayhem, things are on and off - there's carnage breaking out everywhere. We knew exactly the situation.
"Tom went back to Manchester, that's the way football works, then all of a sudden it's back on.
"The lad never once indicated he didn't want to come. He's been professional about it all and he's here, that's the main thing.
"The club's in a really healthy place at the minute. It's definitely our strongest squad, no two ways about it."