Injuries and mandatory omissions have dogged Liverpool's season before it started; Iago Aspas was the only striker that Brendan Rodgers knew he'd have available for Stoke's visit on the opening day of the season, Philippe Coutinho went down for months after the draw at Swansea, and things snowballed quickly as the fall progressed into winter, with each of Aspas, Aly Cissokho, Jose Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, Kolo Toure, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan, and, more recently, Daniel Agger suffering setbacks that either saw them laid off for a good chunk of time or continue to rule them out to this day.
The clouds are parting ever so slightly, however, as today Brendan Rodgers noted that two of those who have been missing of late should come back into the first-team squad:
"Daniel [Agger] will probably be three to four weeks. Unfortunately he has picked up a calf problem, so he will be out for a while. Thankfully, we have now got players starting to come back. Steven [Gerrard] is back, which is great news for us. Daniel Sturridge has been training this week and looking very well. Young Sakho trained today so he looks fine to be in the squad for the weekend. Jon Flanagan has still got a bit of time to go. Jose Enrique is still out. We've got a couple of niggles which we'll have to look at over the course of the next 24 hours. But we'll certainly have one or two back."
Neither of Sakho nor Sturridge look set to start; Sakho was originally thought to be out for months, so his return comes as something of a surprise, albeit a timely one with Agger now out for a month. We knew this was coming for Sturridge, though, who last made an appearance almost two months and is hopefully looking at a healthy, successful next few months ahead of this summer's World Cup.
That Liverpool have managed to stick around near the top of the table with so many injuries in so many key areas is heartening; there likely won't be a time when everyone in the squad is fully fit, and they're certainly not the only side in the Premier League to deal with a number of injuries at once, but if the lighter fixture load (and cash-splashing this month *wink wink*) leads to further opportunities for recuperation and recovery, there's plenty to feel good about as the second half of the season gets underway.