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Balotelli and Sakho to Remain Sidelined for Leicester Visit

Although many were hoping for at least one if not both of Mario Balotelli and Mamadou Sakho to return to Brendan Rodgers' team sheet for the trip to Leicester, both players remain sidelined through injury.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If Brendan Rodgers was hoping to get a fitness boost ahead of Liverpool's match versus Leicester City, he was sorely disappointed by the reality of the situation for both Mario Balotelli and Mamadou Sakho. Neither the striker nor the defender are fit for playing time, leaving the manager with the same set of options he's faced since the international break.

"The squad will be pretty much the same," Rodgers confirmed in his pre-match press conference. "Sakho trained yesterday with the team for the first time, but won't be match-ready yet. And Mario is still not fit."

With Kolo Touré experiencing somewhat of a renaissance alongside Rodgers regular Martin Skrtel, Sakho's absence from the squad is less concerning in the immediate. Dejan Lovren is still available for coverage even if it seems as though the Croatian has fallen out of favour with his manager recently, but it's still possible that Rodgers throws him into the mix after being rested for two games.

Balotelli's injury continues to be problematic, not least of all because the extent of the injury has remained relatively hushed since he left the Italian camp early during the last international break. Citing a non-descript groin injury, Balotelli was initially said to be fixed up and available for the match against Crystal palace over a week ago, but that proved not to be the case.

That the extent of his injury continues to be kept a secret with no discernible return date is somewhat concerning given Liverpool's larger striker issues. With Daniel Sturridge perpetually out, Rickie Lambert having played 90 minutes three times in the last week, and Fabio Borini completely MIA in spite of everything else, Balotelli's absence will certainly be felt, if only because Brendan Rodgers' striker options look particularly bleak today.

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