Liverpool Handed Fitness Boost For Fulham Test

Stu Forster

Jose Enrique is set to return to action on Saturday when Liverpool face Fulham. This is good news for anyone whose name isn't Stewart Downing.

It's good news for Liverpool on the fitness front ahead of Saturday's match against Fulham, as at his pre-match Thursday press conference manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that Jose Enrique was back in contention after picking up a knock in the first half against West Ham two weeks ago.

Elsewhere, Lucas continues to progress well as he works his way back to full fitness, though news isn't as good when it comes to Oussama Assaidi, who has struggled this week with a knee injury. Of course, given how infrequently Assaidi had been used prior to this week when he wasn't struggling with his newfound knee injury, it's unlikely his problems will have any meaningful impact on Saturday's teamsheet.

"Jose Enrique is back in," said Rodgers, "which is great news because he was absolutely flying when he picked up his niggle at West Ham. He comes [straight back] into the squad. Oussama Assaidi has struggled in the last couple of days with his knee. Lucas Leiva is gaining fitness all the time, he's been out for a long time—that's going to be gradual, not an instant progression."

Rodgers also spent some time reflecting on last weekend's deflating loss to Aston Villa at Anfield: "It was disappointing, but we've had a good week this week. It was a funny day all round—probably for the first time at Anfield there was an expectancy of us to get the result, which there should be because we're playing at home.

"There have only been two games this year where we walked [away] disappointed. One was Arsenal, because we weren't at the races that day and we were punished. And also against Aston Villa. Apart from that I can't be critical of the team—we've created so many opportunities, played good football, and could have had more points."

For Saturday's match against Fulham, though, as well as in matches against Stoke and QPR that Liverpool will be expected to win following Christmas, pretty football and decent opportunities won't count for very much if the points aren't there.

At this stage of the season, following a shaky start and with even the faintest hopes for a return to Europe next season on life support, progress and encouraging signs won't be enough of a takeaway against a trio of sides Liverpool should be favourites against even with their current squad.

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