The international break has been easier to stomach this time around for Liverpool, as it comes at a time when a handful of first-team regulars are on the cusp of making returns from injury--Aly Cissokho logged a full ninety minutes for the U21s on Monday, Philippe Coutinho should be only another week or so out, Joe Allen is nearing match fitness, and today we learn that Glen Johnson, who suffered an ankle injury near the end of his excellent performance against Manchester United prior to the previous international break, will be back with the squad in training on Tuesday.
6 weeks of hard work has paid off.... Back with the team on Tuesday.... #Finally— Glen Johnson (@glen_johnson) October 12, 2013
Combined with the news about Liverpool's other squad members (and assuming a healthy return for those on international duty), Brendan Rodgers now has a good amount of depth in areas of need. He might yet need another week before he's ready to start, meaning Jordan Henderson would likely feature against Newcastle, but further into the month there's no question that Johnson slots in at fullback or wingback in the starting eleven.
The residual impact will be felt most in the midfield, where Rodgers will now have Henderson and Allen to add to the mix. It'll be interesting to see what happens once all are available for selection; the Lucas and Steven Gerrard pairing doesn't need much more written about it, and with Henderson's form and Allen's promise, there's a chance for Rodgers to tinker a bit more if he's willing to do so.
Glen Johnson's return is the point at hand, though, and it's unquestionably positive. He'd had his best performance in recent memory before coming off injured against United, and while it would be unfair to expect that same level immediately, we can hope that he's able to recapture that form once he's up and running again.