Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has reaffirmed that summer signing Mario Balotelli and Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva are not for sale and are key players in the squad.

Balotelli’s struggles at Liverpool coupled with his social media controversies have resulted in rumours linking him with a possible return to his old club Inter Milan. The striker is nursing a groin injury and will miss the next game at home to Sunderland. Rodgers said, “He is injured at moment, but he’s still very much a Liverpool player.

“My concentration is on those fit and available.”

Philippe Coutinho and Jose Enrique missed Liverpool’s last game against Leicester City but could feature against Sunderland. Rodgers said that they will be fit for the game, “Coutinho had a slight issue with his knee, but should be ok for Saturday. Enrique has trained and should be ok.”

Liverpool’s win against Leicester in midweek made it two wins in a row after a three-match losing streak in the Premier league and Rodgers commented that the character of the side helped them to get out of the rough patch, “Players have shown the character I always said they had. They have responded magnificently. It’s a really exciting period.”

Part of the reason on why Liverpool have done so well is the re-emergence of Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva who not so long ago was being linked with a move away from the club. “We never had any offers for Lucas. He was always an important member of the squad. He’s in a good moment and long may it continue,” Rodgers said.

Lucas featured in the Champions league game against Ludogorets and did enough to start against Leicester. His performance against Leicester was that of a typical holding midfielder as he broke the play well and cover the full back positions when needed.

Simon Mignolet is trying to improve, Rodgers insists

Despite winning their last game against Leicester, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s performance was once again under severe scrutiny. The Belgian never looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and made a high profile error which almost resulted in a goal. Mignolet has made too many mistakes this season as opposed to last season when he was a key contributor in the team. Rodgers tried to support the former Sunderland man and said, “Simon Mignolet is working very hard on the training field to improve. Mind you, it would rather defeat the point of training if he wasn’t.”

Liverpool return to Anfield on Saturday to face Sunderland and could make it three wins out of three for the first time this season.