Liverpool have a very busy next fortnight, where they play five games spanning three competitions which includes a return to Champions League action following a five-year absence.

Liverpool face Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday, before welcoming Ludogorets to the ground on Tuesday evening. A trip to West Ham follows on September 20, with a Capital One Cup tie at home to Middlesbrough three days later. The action reaches a crescendo with the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on the 27th.

“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,” revealed Rodgers at his press conference ahead of the Villa encounter.

“It’s something we were working hard on during the international break. 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.

“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.”

Steven Gerrard was given extended time off so he could be revitalised ahead of the 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,” said the manager.

“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.”

Liverpool start the hectic schedule with a game against Aston Villa, a team which has always made it hard for the Reds. Rodgers praised his counterpart Paul Lambert and said that he expected a tough outing, again.

He said, “Aston Villa have started well. I’m please for Paul [Lambert], he’s built a young groups of players, developed them, they’ve got better. This season we’ll see the faith Lambert has put in his talented young players this season. They always give us a tough game.”

Liverpool have somewhat of an injury crisis, with six senior players out on the sidelines, three because of the international break, but Rodgers remains confident in the club’s strength in the depth that the club will be able to tackle the matches with ease.

He said, “This is why it was so important to strengthen the squad during the transfer window. We have options now and that’s key for us. We had a great window in terms of the calibre of players we brought in. We signed young players with quality and some with more experience as that’s what we needed. We were very specific about the types we were bringing in and they have all adapted very well. We did some really good business.”

Raheem Sterling has been phenomenal in the three league games so far and also did well for England in the break. The 19 year old was hailed by his manager who said that the player still needs protection, given he is so young.

“Raheem Sterling needs protection – there’s no doubt about that. He’s a wonderful talent, still a lot of things he needs to learn,” said the Liverpool boss.

“I expect Sterling to keep progressing. He’s a mature, wonderful young man. We can’t put him on a pedestal, it has to be the team. The same goes for England – they must play as a team and not rely on talents like Sterling.”