Daniel Sturridge was supposed to make his much anticipated return against Crystal Palace this week. However, fans hopes were crushed after the striker suffered yet another thigh injury in training.
Brendan Rodgers has to once again try to find the proper way to get the Liverpool attack going after struggling for much of the season so far. Over the next few weeks, the team has a relatively easy slate of matches until they face rivals, Manchester United, in December.
Instead of having an opportunity to use the 4-3-1-2 formation that was so successful last season, Rodgers will likely use a 4-2-3-1 formation again after Sturridge’s injury.
Simon Mignolet will continue to start at least until this winter where rumors point towards Rodgers bringing some competition for the Belgian.
He will be going up against a fairly competent offense in Crystal Palace, they have scored 14 goals so far this season, the same amount as Liverpool. On the bright side, most of Palace’s goals have come from open play, not from set-pieces which have troubled the Reds this season.
Javier Manquillo should continue to start at the right back slot for much of the season unless the team adds another player. Glen Johnson is probably going to leave the team for AS Roma during the winter transfer window after rejecting a new contract this week. Manquillo will continue to get better as the season goes along, sometimes it is easy to forget that he is only 20 years old and has only around two years of playing against top level competition after coming from Atletico Madrid.
The paring of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren might come to an end on Sunday. Mamadou Sakho healthy again after a few weeks on the sideline and there have been multiple calls for him to start ahead of one of the two current starters. This weekend is the perfect opportunity for Rodgers to make some changes to the lineup.
If the team is able to control the game, Alberto Moreno will be able to get forward and provide some width to the Liverpool attack. He is the best player the team has in the position and is a terror when he gets a head of steam, as he showed in his goal against Tottenham a few months back.
However, the Spaniard has to be able to contribute to the defensive end as well since he will be facing Palace’s assist leader Jason Puncheon.
Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen will have to establish themselves in midfield in an effort to negate Palace’s best player, Mile Jedinak. Jedinak has been scoring from his sport in central midfield and having Allen shadow him could greatly increase the chance Liverpool has in winning the game. Gerrard, on the other hand, should.
Raheem Sterling should have be able to return to the spot that made him one of the best players in the Premier League last season, in the hole behind the two forwards, with the return of Sturridge to the lineup.
If Rodgers decides to use a 4-2-3-1, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho should join the youngster as the three attacking midfielders. If Rodgers decides to place Henderson beside Gerrard, Adam Lallana, Emre Can or Lazar Markovic could make their way into the lineup.
Mario Balotelli will have to continue without his partner in attack for another couple of weeks. He is coming back from a minor injury but should be fully fit to face a weak Palace defense.
They have conceded 20 goals this season, second most in the league behind QPR. Balotelli should have multiple opportunities to score and hopefully that will finally allow his talent to shine in a Liverpool jersey.
Via – Lineup builder