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Sturridge Ready to Face Tottenham but Skrtel Won't Be

News that Daniel Sturridge is fit after missing out on the weekend will boost Liverpool's attacking options against Tottenham, but with Martin Skrtel already ruled out defensive choices will be limited.

Laurence Griffiths

After struggling through the second half of Liverpool's match against Manchester City at the beginning of February, Daniel Sturridge has spent much of the past month unavailable as he nurses a minor thigh strain. Though he was able to face Swansea along the way, he missed Wigan over the weekend as Brendan Rodgers erred on the sign of caution and chose to rest his big-money January signing.

Sturridge, though, has now been judged to have regained full fitness, and with the player returning to training with the club today it is expected he will be ready to face Tottenham on Sunday. That return, though, could give Rodgers a selection headache, especially against a Tottenham side that poses an attacking threat that Liverpool will have to set out to defend against as their first priority.

With Philippe Coutinho and Stewart Downing both impressive in recent weeks, it doesn't leave much space around Luis Suarez to slot in another attacker. Given there's already a strong case to be made for Rodgers replacing at least one of the two with a midfielder to allow both Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson to start against a side with the firepower of Tottenham, there could be even less room.

It might not be surprising, then, to see Sturridge start on the bench after spending much of the past month sidelined. Alternately, if Rodgers is determined to reunite the promising partnership of Suarez and Sturridge from the opening whistle, it could mean that both Coutinho and Downing move to the bench on Sunday to allow for Liverpool to deploy the strongest possible lineup in midfield.

Meanwhile, if Rodgers will be faced with a tough choice when it comes to who he includes and how he sets up in midfield and attack, Liverpool's defensive quartet against Tottenham has been all but set with news that Martin Skrtel's knee injury will definitely keep him out on the weekend. Skrtel, out of favour with the manager, may always have been a long-shot to start, but with the threat of Gareth Bale running at Jamie Carragher there would have at least been a case for his inclusion.

Now, though, any such discussion is moot, and Carragher will start alongside Daniel Agger while Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique man the flanks. And after the way Tottenham tore apart Arsenal's slow backline over the weekend, no matter how well Carragher has played of late his lack of mobility will be of obvious concern to Brendan Rodgers—and a likely impetus for Andre Villas-Boas to again start Bale in the ten role to exploit Carragher's ageing legs.

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Read More: Skrtel: I Wouldn't Be in the Lineup if I Was Fit

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