Though Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson, both recently returned from injury, are both expected to start on Saturday against Southampton, Brendan Rodgers told the media at his pre-match press conference today that the game would probably come too early for Mamadou Sakho. Rodgers wasn't willing to rule the French international out entirely, and there remains a chance he could make the bench, but even that appears unlikely.
Sakho has been out since December with a hamstring injury. Initially misdiagnosed, it had been believed he might return before the end of January, leading to some confusion when that return kept getting pushed back. Now, though, the timeline is far more certain, and Sakho will either be back on the bench for Southampton or, failing that, in contention to start in the next game against floundering Manchester United.
"We've obviously had a couple of players return to training," said Rodgers, ticking his way through an ever shorter list of first team injury updates. "Young Sakho has trained this week, which has been great. We'll see if it's too early for him this weekend. And Lucas Leiva rejoined the group today, which was great. Jose Enrique is still out, but apart from that we don't have any major injuries now."
After being out since mid-January, Lucas is expected to be in contention to face Manchester United, though it's certain he won't be ready for Southampton. All told, it leaves Jose Enrique the only first team player surrounded by long-term fitness question marks, and though the left back has returned from the United States after heading abroad to seek specialist treatment, when pressed Rodgers admitted there is no timeline for his return.
Rodgers was also asked about the status of Daniel Agger following the defender's second half substitution against Swansea. The manager again confirmed that Agger wasn't removed due to fitness concerns and that it was a tactical decision, but he dismissed any resulting speculation over Agger's place in his long-term plans and insisted the defender will play against Southampton on Saturday.
"The spotlight on Daniel Agger has been unfair," Rodgers said. "We made the change and we won the game, and it's no different because he’s a defender. He has been outstanding in training this week, and he will play on Saturday—there’s no question about that."
Fans of Agger will be breathing a sigh of relief after hearing that. After being credited with his third own goal of the season and with Rodgers' earlier suggestions he brought Kolo Toure on against Swansea for his leadership qualities, though, there seems a fair chance Martin Skrtel will be moving to the bench on Saturday.