Liverpool v Besiktas, leg 1 and leg 2
Sterling is back on the training pitch but is he ready for a start or limited action?
Who should be on the line-up card for Thursday's Europa League match?
Sakho, Skrtel, Can
Henderson, Allen, Moreno, Lallana
Sturridge, Coutinho, Sterling
Ward, Lovren, Toure (or Johnson), Ibe, Lambert, Balotelli, Borini
Since Sterling is coming back from injury, he will be observed and maybe substituted out at the half or earlier if necessary. Would figure Balotelli will be plugged in when Sterling comes out.
Will be interesting to see if Rodgers opts to go with Sturridge/Balotelli up at the top if he thinks Sterling might not yet be ready for a start. But as it stands, I don't think he is yet ready to put that duo up at the top unless he feels the team needs a jump start as they did against Crystal Palace in the second half.
Wonder if Toure is back and rested yet from African Nations duty with Ivory Coast?
The writers at the Echo all seem to think Coutinho needs a rest. If so, move Ibe into his slot and Coutinho onto the bench or rested entirely. If rested entirely, add Manquillo to the bench.
UPDATE: the line-up is out. Manager and I think alike with the exception he is putting in Ibe and keeping Sterling on the bench. Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Allen, Henderson, Moreno, Ibe, Coutinho, Lallana, Sturridge. Substitutes: Ward, Manquillo, Lovren, Lambert, Sterling, Borini, Balotelli.
UPDATE: Liverpool wins Leg One 1-0 on a penalty kick by Balotelli!
UPDATE: The second leg will be interesting as many players will be out for injury. My predictions ...
Starting IX: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Allen, Ibe, Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana.
Subs: Ward, Manquillo, Williams, Lussey, Lambert, Balotelli, Borini.
Would figure if Liverpool needs extra offense, they would turn to Balotelli and if the situation is dire Lambert could sub. If Liverpool is holding off Besiktas and they need a fresh defender, Manquillo could get the call.
UPDATE: Oh, my, Rodger's is pulling the trigger on the triple threat line of Sterling, Sturridge and Balotelli to start! Clearly, going for the early knockout with those three up at the top. The concern is how the back three will play as that trio hasn't been on the field as a unit in quite some time. With this lineup they will pressure and might be vulnerable to the counter attack. But, if all goes well, Liverpool will gain possession and keep possession and allow the three to swoop in like velociraptors causing havoc in the box and get an early goal or two either directly into the net or by drawing a penalty resulting in a PK goal. Would be great if they can get out to a 1-0 or 2-0 lead and then BR can bring in the young plays like Manquillo, Williams and Brannigan.