Liverpool avoided extra time against Bolton in their FA Cup replay, but with the derby against Everton coming up on Saturday it was still an extra match they really could have done without. There will be some tired legs heading into the weekend, and Brendan Rodgers will have some tough choices to make concerning players like Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling.
Sterling was kicked around all night by a Bolton side that was allowed to embrace the more agrarian side of the game by referee Roger East, while Gerrard has shown this season that at 34 years of age, he’s no longer capable of playing more than one match a week at an especially high level. The biggest question for many, though, will be whether Daniel Sturridge and Lucas Leiva are going to be fit to start.
"Every player wants to play, not just Daniel," said the manager when asked about the status of his star striker at his pre-match press conference. "You go into each game and every player here at this football club is going to want to play. So Daniel is coming along very well, and we won’t say he won’t start, but we have to analyse the situation over the next couple of days. Then we’ll see what happens."
Though he didn’t make the same impact coming on against Bolton that he had against West Ham last Saturday, it was another solid runout for Sturridge, and it would surprise nobody if Rodgers is playing coy and the striker does start on the weekend. Lucas, meanwhile, was kept out against Bolton as a preventative measure, and there are questions about Lazar Markovic’s fitness after he came off with a back injury.
"We’ll see tomorrow on him," said Rodgers of the youngster who has recently locked down the right wingback role for Liverpool. "Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli sat out for last night as well, and there was Lucas’ injury, so we’ll see. There’s nobody definitely ruled out, but we will have to see how everybody looks tomorrow."