Having limped off with a thigh injury against Leicester City on January 1st, Adam Lallana was expected to miss a month of action recovering from a thigh injury. Instead, the versatile attacker who was Liverpool’s best player before he went down is so far ahead of schedule that he’s in contention to at least make the bench against Aston Villa on Saturday.
"He’s ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation and so we’re hoping he can join the group tomorrow in training," said Rodgers at his pre-match press conference today. "If he’s not available for Saturday, he certainly will be for Chelsea. He’s a wonderful player, a wonderful technician, and he links up so well when he plays. He will only get better with more time at the club."
Steven Gerrard, who suffered a minor hamstring strain against Sunderland, will also be a possibility to make the bench, though in both his case and Lallana’s a start on Saturday seems highly unlikely. One player who will start is Raheem Sterling, who has returned from his personal mid-winter break and will be expected back in the starting eleven.
The only question in Sterling’s case is if he continues as a makeshift striker or if Fabio Borini or Mario Balotelli get the start and he’s allowed to move back into the midfield, perhaps helping to cover for the likely absence of Lallana and Gerrard at kickoff. Rodgers, meanwhile, remains hopeful for a Daniel Sturridge return to action soon, though the timeline as yet remains uncertain.
"We just want him fit," added the Liverpool manager. "There’s no timeline on that. He’s back with us and in the final stages of rehab, but there’s no set time on it."