Brendan Rodgers is to leave out Steven Gerrard and possibly Luis Suárez for Liverpool's trip to Mansfield Town on Sunday but insists no risks will be taken against the Blue Square Premier side.
Gerrard has played every minute of every Premier League game this season and after a demanding spell of four matches in 10 days over the festive period will be omitted from the team at Field Mill. Leading goalscorer Suárez has also faced a gruelling workload, but with the new £12m signing Daniel Sturridge unlikely to start the third-round tie, the Uruguay international may be involved in some capacity. Jonjo Shelvey operated as a "false nine" when Suárez was suspended for the league win over West Ham United and offers an alternative, but Rodgers is confident Liverpool have the depth to avoid a major upset.
The Liverpool manager said: "This is one where I'm looking to utilise the squad. This is the nature of it coming on the back of four very tough games but I'll pick a group to win. That's the key. I am confident in the group and I would never risk the tie because this is a competition we want to do well in.
"Luis loves playing, that is why he is here: to play games and score goals. I speak a lot with him and I know from working with him that he wants to play. But he's coming off the back of a real busy period where he's given everything in the games and scored goals."
Jamie Carragher will play, but Sturridge, having not started a competitive game since 17 November in 2012 – when Chelsea lost at West Bromwich Albion in what proved to be Roberto Di Matteo's final league game as manager – is unlikely to be hurried into the side. The 23-year-old is, however, included in the squad.
Rodgers explained: "Daniel is still catching up a bit on his fitness because he has been out for a period of time. He's looked good in the couple of sessions we've had but I'm not looking to rush Daniel into anything. He is not under big pressure to come in and perform straightaway, in particular because of the form of the team at the moment."
The Liverpool manager, who insists his staff "have prepared exactly the same for Mansfield as we would Manchester United", expects to be without José Enrique for six weeks after the defender aggravated a hamstring injury at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday. "It's a shame because in the game he felt nothing," said Rodgers. "Sometimes you can enter games and be tight and stiff but he felt great. It is unfortunate because he has looked fantastic."
His fellow defender Sebastián Coates may be allowed to leave Liverpool on loan in the transfer window providing there is necessary cover for Martin Skrtl and Daniel Agger, Rodgers has confirmed. He said: "It's been difficult for him to get games. The best thing for Sebastián will be to go out and play some games."