Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers could rest Steven Gerrard in their clash against Sunderland in a bid to keep him fresh for their do-or-die clash coming up against FC Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday.
It’s highly unlikely that Gerrard will be used three times in a week, which means that Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho could return after recovering from a knee injury. “Philippe Coutinho had a slight issue with his knee during the week but he should be OK for the weekend,” Rodgers said ahead of the game against Sunderland.
Likewise, left back Jose Enrique could return as well, however it’s unlikely that he’ll start the game as Alberto Moreno could be given a preference over his countryman, “Jose Enrique is back in. We are having to manage Jose and his games, but he has trained and should be available for the weekend. Everyone else, it is as it was.”
Rodgers also gave an update about striker Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge who are nursing groin and thigh injuries respectively. Balotelli is close to a return as he has upped his rehab work. Rodgers said, “He’s working with the medical team on a daily basis. I trust the team of people here that look after the injuries. Hopefully he’ll be available sooner rather than later.”
Daniel Sturridge has missed a lot of action after a succession of injuries and when asked about the England international, Rodgers replied, “He has gone away to get some work in, with some of our staff, doing specific work. He’s coming along well.”
Fletcher set to miss out for Sunderland
Sunderland’s leading goalscorer Steven Fletcher could miss the clash at Anfield after sitting out of training due to a back injury. However, the Scotland international will travel with the squad, “Fletch[Fletcher] is in the squad. He hasn’t trained, but he’s in the squad. Most sportsmen know that when you get that leg in the back and hits the nerve, it’s quite painful.
“Of course, it takes a couple of days to get the pain away. It’s still a bit uncomfortable, but because there is no injury, he’ll be in the squad.”
Poyet also revealed that Adam Johnson and Wes Brown will feature after recovering from their injuries and having trained earlier in the week, “Adam trained a little bit on Wednesday. He did a fitness test then on every single movement, passing, sprinting and power.
“He did it again yesterday with the medical department and today he trained no problems. He’ll be available again.
“Wes[Wes Brown] is an easy one, he needs to play. That’s not difficult.”
With Fletcher’s absence, it’s likely that Conor Wickham will be deployed as the striker with Adam Johnson occupying the wide area.