Mario Balotelli and Adam Lallana are ready to make a comeback as they look to help revive Liverpool’s season at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is in contention to make a comeback against Manchester United on Sunday as he steps up his recovery from a groin injury. He is back in full training after a six-match absence and has not played since Liverpool’s home defeat to Chelsea last month. His injury forced him to pull out of Italy squad for their Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia but now he looks set to feature against Manchester United, where he scored twice in a 6-1 derby win on his last visit in 2011. Balotelli has not scored a league goal since his arrival from AC Milan for 16 million pounds in August. And his form has been so poor that his long-term future at Anfield has been called into question just four months after he signed a three-year contract.Brendan Rodgers must decide whether to recall the striker as he bids to kick-start a season that has been a disappointment so far and start picking up the points as the busy festive period begins.
Adam Lallana is ready to play through the pain barrier as Liverpool gear up for their crucial clash at Old Trafford.The England international did not figure in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Basel after he broke two ribs during the 3-1 win at Leicester seven days earlier. Lallana had played against Sunderland last Saturday with the aid of a pain-killing injection and will do the same against Manchester United. It has been a stop-start season for Lallana, who cost Liverpool £23.7 million when he arrived from Southampton in June, as he missed the first four weeks of the campaign after damaging his knee ligaments. The 26-year-old scored at Leicester and started Saturday’s goalless draw against Sunderland at Anfield before making way for Steven Gerrard after 67 minutes. He received a pain-killing injection before facing Gus Poyet’s side and will remain in contention for the team to play United despite continued discomfort.
Liverpool are currently ninth in the Premier League having finished second last season and were eliminated from the Champions League by Swiss side Basel on Tuesday. They are also struggling for goals, having scored 11 times in their last 12 matches in all competitions. Manager Brendan Rodgers still has the full support of club owners Fenway Sports Group, but his team are six points adrift of a qualification spot for next season’s Champions League, with key matches against United and Arsenal to come before Christmas.