Liverpool Team News: Rodgers Confirms Key Duo Face Late Tests + Sturridge Latest
Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson face late fitness tests ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Liverpool get back to Premier League action this weekend when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the game, Brendan Rodgers has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and gave Liverpoolfc.com a team news and injury update.
The Reds boss confirmed that Jordan Henderson is facing a late test on a hamstring injury that kept him out of England’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland on Tuesday night, but he is confident the midfielder will be passed fit to play on Sunday.
Rodgers also revealed that Mario Balotelli is set to undergo a late check-up on a minor hamstring problem that he too picked up while on international duty with Italy over the past week.
The Liverpool boss told journalists at Melwood:
“Jordan missed the game against Scotland, but I think it was just as a precaution, really. He had a slight tightness.
“He was on the bench, but he wasn’t risked. England had other good players to come in.
“He should, hopefully, be fine for the weekend.”
“He [Balotelli] had an issue with the Italian squad, who he returned back from. We’ll assess that over the next couple of days.”
If Balotelli is ruled out then Rickie Lambert or Fabio Borini will come in up front as Daniel Sturridge is facing a further six weeks on the sidelines with a fresh thigh injury that he picked up in training this week.
Rodgers believes criticism of the striker is unfair after some suggested he could be doing more to prevent getting injured, with the Reds boss revealing that Sturridge is ‘as down as I’ve seen anyone’ and insists they will work together to figure out how to keep the striker on the pitch on a consistent basis.
“Daniel has just been extremely unfortunate. He’s a player who doesn’t want to be out for this period of time with the quality he has,” he told reporters.
“I spoke to Daniel at length and he’s as down as I’ve seen anyone. We need to go away and find answers so he can perform consistently.
“I have great trust in the players. I would be more concerned if they were moping around or didn’t care.” Rodgers is quoted as saying by Goal
It’s clearly a huge blow for Liverpool to lose Sturridge until the New Year and now the onus will be on the other attackers to provide the goal threat that’s been lacking in recent months.
Balotelli, Lambert and Borini have failed to register a single league goal between them so far this season and the lack of threat up front has led to a poor run of form that’s seen Liverpool drop to 11th place in the table, so Rodgers will be keen to find a solution quickly to get their season back on track starting on Sunday against Palace.
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