What started in Brondby is now coming to an end in Merseyside, and that's not even a terribly depressing/just plain terrible Daniel Agger transfer joke. Liverpool's preseason will wrap up this weekend with a glamour friendly against Borussia Dortmund, and as part of their preparations for the match, Brendan Rodgers' squad took part in an open training session at Anfield on Friday afternoon. A number of higher profile names were absent, including Agger, Lazar Markovic, Fabio Borini, Adam Lallana, and Jon Flanagan, but positive news comes in the form of the return and expected availability on Sunday of Daniel Sturridge.
Daniel Sturridge training at Anfield today. Brendan Rodgers had said he should be fine for Dortmund on Sunday— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) August 8, 2014
Glen Johnson at left-back during Liverpool training today. Manquillo at right-back in the attack v defence drill— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) August 8, 2014
Videos and pictures from the official website indicate that Javier Manquillo and Dejan Lovren featured heavily as well, with indications that both will get minutes and likely starting roles come Sunday. Those most prominently highlighted included a number of usual suspects, which could also hint at a possible eleven against Jurgen Klopp's side:
Manquillo Skrtel Lovren Johnson
Sterling Sturridge Coutinho
That's ignoring the presence of the likes of Lucas, Joe Allen, Mamadou Sakho, and Jose Enrique, all of whom will likely have some part to play against Dortmund as well. But as it stands, that same eleven wouldn't be a complete shock when Southmapton arrive next weekend, though the inclusion of Lovren and/or Skrtel over Sakho is likely going to be the subject of some disagreement. The Croatian defender is being heavily marketed as a commanding, marshaling, leading leader who leads--it's true, I saw it on Instagram--in Liverpool's defense, and it seems as though he's the first name on the team sheet in defense at present.
Whether or not that ends up happening remains to be seen, but what's clear is that the return of Sturridge and his expected fitness for the start of the Premier League season is crucial to Liverpool's chances at early season success. Reinforcements are likely coming, and Rickie Lambert will find his footing sooner or later, but Sturridge is widely expected to take the starring role up front for Liverpool, and his absence since the friendly against Manchester City in New York has exposed some very valid concerns about both his fitness and the state of Liverpool's depth at striker.
Ideally he gets 45 minutes to an hour on Sunday with little incident, and with another full week of training under his belt, he should be close to match fitness when Southampton arrive. Then we just have to worry about him staying fit and who's going to occupy the three or four other spots that seem to still be up for grabs.