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Returning from the second international break, Liverpool sit atop of the Premier League alongside Arsenal, albeit with a slightly inferior goal difference. There have been many positives for Liverpool during this international break. Young 17 year old academy winger Harry Wilson got his first cap for Wales in their final qualifier against Belgium, being Wales’ youngest debutant, surpassing Gareth Bale’s record in the process – if Wilson can become half or a quarter of Bale’s current standard, the Reds will have a gem on their hands, a big if.
Liverpool’s England duo Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge got a goal each during the final two qualifiers which got the Three Lions to the World Cup. Lucas Leiva got to don Brazil’s national jersey once again, playing his part in their wins over South Korea and Zambia in Asia. Less positive news sees Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, Victor Moses’ Nigeria and Mamadou Sakho’s France having to play-off for their spots in next summer’s showpiece event. Nonetheless, they are still in with a chance.
Positives Back Home
The best news out of the international break came from Melwood itself. The return to the squad of Glen Johnson, Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen could not come at a better time for the Reds, who need to carry on from where they left off less than two weeks ago. Momentum needs to be maintained. Johnson, if fit and ready, will surely reprise his role in the team, whether as the right wing-back in Brendan Rodgers’ recent 3-4-1-2 formation, or as the right full-back in the more standard-looking 4-2-3-1.
Aly Cissokho’s return will allow Rodgers some tinkering at left-back; though Jose Enrique is really on form now and will definitely not be dropped, barring injury. For Rodgers, at least he has some peace of mind in the fact he does not have to place man mountain Mamadou Sakho at left-back, as the France international awkward showing in the defeat to Southampton proved.
Along with Cissokho, Allen can only hope for a place on the bench for the visit to Newcastle. His presence in the squad is needed, as sooner or later, one of Gerrard or Lucas will have to be rested or brought off by Rodgers…
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