With news that Daniel Sturridge nearing a return late last week and then that he'd travelled with the team to Madrid today, Liverpool fans could have been forgiven thoughts of a miraculous return. According to Brendan Rodgers, though, one isn't on the cards.
"I brought all the players here," said Rodgers when asked about the inclusion of Sturridge and some of his other injured players on the travelling squad as they prepare to face Real Madrid. "But it's highly unlikely Daniel will be ready in time to feature."
Pinning all the club's hopes on one injured player seems potentially reckless, particularly with the club's problems seeming to go far beyond the man leading the line. Still, Liverpool have looked at their best this season with Sturridge on the pitch, and his continued absence is clearly hurting the side.
The likes of Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique, and Suso have also travelled, though none are expected to be anywhere near the matchday squad on Tuesday evening. It means that the players available for selection will be largely the same ones who were available to face Hull City and Newcastle in the club's last two league matches.
Still, within that group there's room for a few changes, and given how disappointing the results have been of late, many will expect a few tomorrow. On that front, though he won't name names, Rodgers sounds as though he's running out of patience.
"I don't want to talk about giving players more time," he said when asked about the need to give new players time to settle or adjust. "We need to get past that and focus on the performance."
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