Rodgers unfazed by Ba return
19 February 2015, 11:52
London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has declared on Wednesday that he was relaxed about the prospect of former Chelsea striker Demba Ba returning to Anfield with Besiktas in the Europa League.
Senegal international Ba memorably capitalised on a slip by Steven Gerrard in a game at Anfield last April to open the scoring in a 2-0 win that sparked Liverpool's collapse in the Premier League title race.
He will return to the scene of the incident on Thursday when Besiktas tackle Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie, but Rodgers played down the significance of the reunion.
"It won't stimulate any bad memories for me," Rodgers told his eve-of-match press conference.
"At the time he scored a goal, which was a good goal, but he has scored many good goals in his career. We just see him as a threat that we will pay respect to, but nothing more than that.
"He had a very good period here in England. He is a wonderful player, who has good touch and technique and he scores goals. He has gone to Besiktas and done well."
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Gerrard, who is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, will miss the game with a hamstring injury.
Serbian winger Lazar Markovic will also be unavailable after being given a four-match ban by UEFA following his dismissal for swinging his hand towards a Basel player in Liverpool's last Champions League group game.
"We are obviously disappointed with the length of the ban. I think everyone would have felt it was very harsh," Rodgers said.
"However, we accept it and unfortunately he will have to serve that and won't be able to contribute these coming games."