Hodgson drops entire team

LONDON - Brief news from the Premier League before this weekend's matches:

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said he would replace all 11 players from Wednesday night's humiliating Carling Cup defeat to League Two Northampton Town when they play Sunderland on Saturday.

A largely second-string Liverpool team went out of the competition 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Anfield.

"None of the players who are playing on Saturday played on Wednesday night," Hodgson said on the club website.

"We had a very bad result on Wednesday night but it should not affect the 11 players who are going to start the game on Saturday because they weren't part of the game."

Netherlands international Dirk Kuyt could return to action after making a faster-than-expected recovery from a shoulder injury.

"Kuyt is the only one we have a slight reservation about, but we'll see if he makes it," Hodgson added.

Manchester City are facing an injury crisis with only three senior defenders definitely fit to start their Premier League clash with league leaders Chelsea.

Joleon Lescott has only just returned to training, Jerome Boateng is feeling his way back to fitness after a knee injury while Micah Richards is struggling to shake off a hamstring problem.

Chelsea look certain to be without both Yossi Benayoun and Salomon Kalou for Saturday's match.

"I don't think Kalou will be available for the Manchester game, also Benayoun," manager Carlo Ancelotti said on the club website.

"It is a muscle problem so we need more time for him to rest."

Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves, who has not started a match since September 2008, has returned to training, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

Hargreaves, who joined United for 17 million pounds from Bayern Munich in 2007, has spent years struggling with a knee injury.

"Owen Hargreaves has come back (to) training, he trained yesterday with the first team," Ferguson said on the club website.

"He looked very good. I was surprised actually how good he was looking."

Arsenal will be without captain Cesc Fabregas and defender Thomas Vermaelen for Saturday's match against West Bromwich Albion but midfielder Abou Diaby could return to the side.

"The only player who could come back is Diaby," manager Arsene Wenger said on the club website.

"He will have a test on Friday morning and we will see from there.

"Thomas Vermaelen will be out for the next two games. Cesc Fabregas is out 100 per cent for the next two games. We have a small hope he could be back against Chelsea."

Midfielder Alex Song is back after suspension while summer signing Sebastien Squillaci could return after being rested in the midweek Carling Cup victory over North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham visit West Ham United with manager Harry Redknapp returning to the club he served with distinction as a player and manager.

Spurs captain Ledley King and playmaker Luka Modric are fit but may be rested for Wednesday's Champions League game at home to Twente Enschede.

Defender Vedran Corluka is fit again after a back injury and Rafael van der Vaart has shaken off a calf problem.

William Gallas and Sebastien Bassong are likely to play in central defence if King is rested.

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