Early reports had Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana all doubts to face Tottenham along with confirmed absence Lucas Leiva, out for at least the next month with a thigh injury. At his pre-match press conference, though, Brendan Rodgers quickly rubbished the thought, insisting all three were fit and ready to start against Spurs.
It turns out those initial reports may have been closer to the truth than Rodgers’ later statements, as the BBC’s Ben Smith is reporting that Raheem Sterling will not be in the lineup tonight following a foot injury suffered late on against Everton. It’s a big blow for Liverpool, and one that means Daniel Sturridge is almost certain to now start, but the Liverpool manager should have options.
I am told Raheem Sterling is out of #LFC's game with Spurs tonight with a knock.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) February 10, 2015
Or at least Rodgers will have options if Coutinho and Lallana are available, as along with the returning Lazar Markovic and young Jordon Ibe the manager would have four players to choose from for the two attacking midfield positions in the 3-4-2-1. One of Markovic and Ibe will also be expected to take on the right wingback role, while Steven Gerrard seems likely to be kept on the bench as an impact sub.
Sterling has been important to Liverpool’s improved form of late, but with Sturridge returning to action the blow of his absence should at least be lessened.