With Liverpool heading straight back into Europa League action this week and facing two games a week over the holiday period, Jürgen Klopp will have to make some choices to keep his players fresh and fit. With the games piling up, things like yellow card accumulation—set to keep Lucas Leiva out on Sunday—also come into play.
The good news for the Liverpool boss is that the club's injury list is quickly clearing, with Daniel Sturridge back in full training and midfielders Jordan Henderson and Jordan Rossiter edging closer to fitness. After struggling with fitness over the past month, Christian Benteke is finally fully fit, too, though it's not all good news at Anfield as Martin Skrtel has now fallen ill.
"The best new is Daniel is getting closer and closer," said Klopp. "He has trained seven or eight times in a row, which will help him and us. Benteke is in good shape. When we started he was injured, and now has had many sessions with the team. We are in a good position, though when you have footballers, you solve one problem and have another as Skrtel is a little ill."
With Mamadou Sakho out until the new year, if Skrtel isn't able to start on Thursday against Bordeaux—and perhaps even on the weekend against Swansea—it could pose an even bigger problem for the Liverpool boss than the recent run of striker injuries. It would leave Klopp with only the duo of Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure as recognised, fit, senior centre halves.
With Toure's injury record of late, a youth call-up or a move into the defence for Emre Can could be on the cards. Few would be especially surprised, though, if Skrtel shrugs off his illness and is able to start both in the Europa League and league this week. In that case, the questions will shift back up the pitch and to when and how Sturridge will be worked back in.
"He's getting closer," said Klopp when asked about the chance of Sturridge facing Bordeaux. "Each session is very important, and my decision you will see tomorrow. The most important things in these weeks is he can train without problems. We have to try to bring him back in a good situation, a good moment. If it's for a few minutes or more we will see in the game."