Liverpool FC face Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday and Brendan Rodgers has some injury concerns to worry about, but hinted that he will risk Daniel Sturridge by starting him.
The Merseyside derby is a game every one in the city gets involved in and is one which carries great emotions and hence it is understandable for Rodgers, who presides over his 100th Premier League game in charge of the Reds, wants to win this game. Liverpool also face Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night in Anfield, another crucial game in their quest for top 4 spots.
The 25 year old return from injury recently and Rodgers has so far only used him as a substitute (in two games) saying a few days back that he wants to a beda the striker in, instead of rushing him and injuring him again in the process. However, his pre-match quotes indicate that the England international could be started in the game.
Rodgers said: a It is about liaising with Daniel and the medical team in terms of the risk but he is not far away from starting now, he is really champing at the bit. We will analyse things over the coming days.
a We want to make sure he is going to be available now for the rest of the season. If the timing is not quite right it can damage us and hurt us, but his appetite to play is there which is great. I need to speak with my staff and Daniel and make a decision. It is difficult because these are games that we want to win, they are not fitness games. We want to win football matches so it is hard if someone only needs 30 or 45 minutes. But he is not far away from starting.a
a They are both very important games in different ways,a he said. a It is a local derby and you want to win those. That is the only concentration but of course we want to win on Tuesday as well. If Daniel wasna t to start at Everton then he would be in with a great chance to start against Tottenham.a
Liverpool have other injuries to worry about before the 224th Merseyside derby. Lucas Leiva, a very crucial member in recent times, was not risked against Bolton due to a thigh problem. Lazar Markovic suffered a back injury in the FA Cup win, and Adam Lallana sustained a groin injury. All three will be assessed in the buildup to the Everton game and are likely to undergo a late fitness test, which means their availably would only be determined on Saturday.
Predicted Line-up (3-4-2-1): Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Markovic, Henderson, Lucas, Moreno; Gerrard, Coutinho; Sterling