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Mamadou Sakho is still struggling with a hamstring injury, while Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger have been sidelined with ankle and calf problems, respectively

Liverpool will be without three key defenders for Saturday's Premier League crunch clash with Arsenal at Anfield.

Mamadou Sakho is still struggling with a hamstring injury picked up against Chelsea on Dec. 29, while Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger remain sidelined with their respective ankle and calf problems.

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Rodgers confirmed Johnson and Agger are closer to returning to full training than Sakho, but all three will miss the visit of the Gunners.

"No, they'll not be back for this one, but we're hopeful that next week [they will be back]," the Reds boss told reporters when asked about Johnson and Agger.

"Glen Johnson is making a great recovery, so there might be a point towards the middle or end of next week [when he can return]. Daniel Agger will hopefully be next week at some stage.

"Sakho is still out for a little bit, but apart from that we will be the same as what we have been for the weekend."

Liverpool have dropped points at home on just two occasions this season and Rodgers believes his team rises to the challenge of facing top sides.

"Sometimes I feel, the bigger the game, the better we've played," he added. "At the Emirates, though, Arsenal were the better team.

"Every game is critical now before the end of the season. Every team will look to take points off their rivals.

"If we win this weekend, we close the gap on the teams above us. So we need to make sure the performance is right.

"These types of games are an opportunity to make a statement of the progress we've made. We'll respect our opponents, and none more so than Arsenal, but we'll expect to win and have the confidence to do so."

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