The last of Liverpool's injured contingent aside from Jose Enrique are Lucas and Mamadou Sakho, both of whom have missed significant time over the course of the winter. There's a case to be made that recent defensive struggles have only been compounded by their absences; no telling what Brendan Rodgers would have done with the great Steven Gerrard experiment had Lucas not been injured, and prior to suffering a hamstring injury Mamadou Sakho was among Liverpool's most consistent defenders.
Given the fireworks we've seen in attack of late it's easy to forget the importance of the duo through a handful of the squad's sturdier performances in defense, but thankfully we're staring down a return for both as they're set to face West Ham in a U21 match (along with some bonus Joao Teixeira and Brad Smith) ahead of joining the full squad for training.
#LFCU21s team to face West Ham: Mersin, Williams, Smith, Jones, Sakho, Lucas, Peterson, Lussey, Dunn, Brannagan, Teixeira.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 7, 2014
Similar to the return of Joe Allen, having Lucas and Sakho available--hopefully for next weekend's trip to Old Trafford--presents quality options either off the bench or in the starting eleven. A start for either would be unlikely against Manchester United, but their availability adds steel and solidity as Liverpool get set for the crucial 10-match race to the end of the Premier League season.
Kickoff is at 7:00PM GMT/2:00PM EST, and the match can be found on LFCTV for those with the service through their television provider or online. This can serve as a matchday thread for those interested, and as an opportunity to celebrate more good news as the season's final two months gets underway.