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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CSKA, Liverpool Ready for Euro Cup

MONACO -- Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez is likely to field a team bearing little resemblance to the one that lifted the European Cup in May when his side faces UEFA Cup holder CSKA Moscow in the European Super Cup on Friday.

Just three days after playing CSKA Sofia in their final Champions League qualifier on Tuesday, the Reds now face Moscow's Army club, CSKA. Liverpool will almost certainly be without inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard who injured a calf muscle in last week's Premier League match against Sunderland and missed the match against CSKA Sofia on Tuesday.

CSKA Moscow, the first Russian team to take part in the now-traditional curtain-raiser to the European club season played at Monaco's Stade Louis II, will also be missing key players.

Croatian midfielder Ivica Olic is sidelined for up to six months with a serious knee injury and Brazilian Wagner Love is an unlikely starter, given his foot injury.

CSKA coach Valery Gazzayev can still call on the majority of the side that defeated Sporting 3-1 to win the UEFA Cup one week before Liverpool's epic penalty shootout victory against AC Milan in the Champions League in Istanbul.

Benitez made five changes to Liverpool's starting lineup against CSKA Sofia, a game the Anfield side lost 1-0, although they still qualified for this season's Group Stage on a 3-2 aggregate.

With the start of the Champions League just over two weeks away and the Premier League already in full swing, Benitez will once again opt for a makeshift side to face the Russians.

Liverpool, bidding to win the Super Cup for the third time after previous wins in 1977 and 2001, will also be playing its ninth match of the season after taking part in three qualifying rounds of the Champions League -- and its 22nd European match since last August.

The Moscow club has also had little rest since May, as the regular Russian soccer season has run through the summer. With nine matches to go, it lies in second place behind city rival Lokomotiv, which was knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Rapid Vienna earlier this week.

Although CSKA will be without Olic and almost certainly Love, striker Sergei Samodin should play after recovering from a nasty recent encounter with a jellyfish, which burnt and stung him.

Bookmakers have made Liverpool the favorite to win, but the Russian team has other ideas.

"I give CSKA a 100 percent chance," Brazilian playmaker Daniel Carvalho told Sport-Express newspaper.

"In the UEFA Cup, we cultivated in ourselves a psychology of winners. In our team, there are footballers who are confident in their strengths."