Liverpool will have Lucas Leiva available for the visit of Southampton on Saturday as the Brazilian midfielder has recovered from his second serious injury in the past year. Lucas was only just making the first steps of his comeback when he suffered thigh injury while warming up for the club’s second Premier League game of the season against Manchester City.
The news will come as a big boost to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, although there would appear to be little chance of Lucas being thrown in from the start on Saturday.
Rodgers could do with the immediate boost of a victory against Southampton after he was left frustrated by another good performance that failed to translate into points, against Tottenham on Wednesday evening.
The 2-1 defeat leaves the Reds in 12th place in the Premier League and closer to the relegation zone than the top six. A home meeting with Southampton is the type of fixture where fans patience may begin to run thin if three points are not recorded.
Yet, while their opponents are lodged in the league’s bottom three, Nigel Adkins’ side have been on a fine run of form of late. Following a dismal start to the season where Adkins’ job was thought to be under pressure, the Saints are unbeaten in four matches having taken eight points in that spell.
With midfielder Jack Cork providing protection to a previously leaky back four, the side’s talent going forward has been allowed to come to the fore. While the defense has improved, though, there are still doubts about their goalkeeping options, with the latest man to be tried between the sticks, Paulo Gazzaniga, making another in a series of errors to concede an equalizer against Norwich on Wednesday.
Adkins is expected to keep faith with the Italian, though, while defender Danny Fox will also be available again after a knee injury.
As well as Lucas’ return to fitness, Rodgers will also have Joe Cole at his disposal after the midfielder missed the clash with Tottenham with a hamstring injury.
D: Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Gerrard, Allen, Sahin
F: Sterling, Suarez, Suso
D: Clyne, Oshida, Fonte, Shaw
M: Cork, Schneiderlin
Puncheon, Ramirez, Lallana
Prediction: This is a game Liverpool really must win and they will also hope to have some rare attacking joy against a Southampton side that are still not dependable at the back. The Saints have enough in the forward areas to give Liverpool a test, but in the end the home side should prevail.
Liverpool 2-1 Southampton
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match kicks-off from Anfield at 10 a.m. ET. A live stream will be available via Fox Soccer 2Go.