With the January transfer window officially done, attentions can once again be turned to the action that counts. Liverpool were in a similar spot last season, having failed to make any additions to the squad, and while Brendan Rodgers' speech about the galvanizing effect of the club's inaction, their form over the final four and a half months managed to prove him right. Supporters will hope for a similar outcome this season, and with Daniel Sturridge returning and the squad's form collectively improving, Rodgers' side is poised for another second-half run.
They managed to bounce back well from the League Cup exit with a 2-0 win over West Ham on Saturday, and now they'll hope to continue the rebound with a win over Bolton in tomorrow's fourth round replay. The reverse fixture was relatively inept from a Liverpool perspective, with plenty of chances to get the winner, but tomorrow's hosts were solid defensively and benefited from a handful of excellent saves from Adam Bogdan.
Since they last met, Bolton have lost 4-2 away to Rotherham and drawn 2-2 with Wolves, and yesterday they welcomed goalkeeper Ben Amos and defender Saidy Janko on loan from Manchester United, and midfielders Simeon Slavchev, Filip Twardzik, and Barry Bannan into the squad, with Lee Chung-Yong leaving for Crystal Palace, Conor Wilkinson joining Oldham Athletic on loan and Andy Kellett switching places with Janko at Manchester United. That follows the exit of Jay Spearing on loan to Blackburn Rovers.
Darren Pratley has since been injured, but Neil Lennon should have most of the squad available that faced Liverpool two weeks ago, and Lennon will likely welcome in Zach Clough, who scored a brace against Wolves this weekend.
Johnson Skrtel Lovren
Manquillo Allen Henderson Enrique
With Daniel Sturridge making his official return to the first team over the weekend, Liverpool are down to just two on the injury list, with Jon Flanagan and Brad Jones still ruled out. There could and should be a few rested with a view to the derby at the weekend, while Steven Gerrard is expected to return--and make his 700th appearance in a Liverpool shirt--after a slight hamstring concern kept him out of the squad for the 2-0 win over West Ham.
What Rodgers will do other than bring Gerrard back into the side isn't exactly clear, though we can expect Simon Mignolet in goal and, at minimum, Martin Skrtel continuing as part of the three-man back line. Changes on either side might be expecting too much, but it looks time for Dejan Lovren to get another start (or at least be included in the squad) and Glen Johnson could feature as well. Both Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho could use a rest, especially with the derby on Saturday and Tottenham visiting Anfield next Tuesday, but it wouldn't be surprising for Can, Skrtel, and Sakho to continue as part of the preferred setup.
A start for Joe Allen also appears to be on the cards, and it's tempting to suggest all change at fullback as well. Lazar Markovic has been in-and-out of matches in the past few weeks, and Alberto Moreno will be expected to feature against Everton and Spurs as well. Javier Manquillo and Jose Enrique could come in on either side, with Allen joining Jordan Henderson in central midfield, though as in defense it wouldn't be a shock to see Lucas, Markovic, and Moreno involved.
Gerrard will feature further forward, which seems to be the role for him as the season plays out, and again there's little clarity as to who will be rested and who will come into the eleven. Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli, and Rickie Lambert are all in contention, while Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana are first-choice, and are thus needed for the critical stretch later this weekend into the early part of next week. Daniel Sturridge should make another appearance off the bench.
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST on Wednesday, with BBC One airing the match live in the UK and Fox Sports One/Fox Soccer 2 Go providing coverage in the US. Our coverage will continue with the overnight open thread tonight and carry into live coverage tomorrow, with team sheets an hour before kickoff, full viewing options, and post-match reaction. If you haven’t already, sign up for an SBNation account and join us for it.