With Suarez serving a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Liverpool face a bit of a dilemma in that area of the pitch. Sturridge will almost certainly deputise, but should the Englishman face suspension, injury, or need a striking partner, the Reds appear to be short of options. Will this be the chance for a young player to step up, or will a player have to change position in order to accommodate any forward position?
Injury has marred the Italian’s return to English football after leaving Swansea in 2011, but rejoined the first team in training this Tuesday. Borini is Liverpool’s only other senior attacking option (excluding Sturridge and Suarez), and is desperate to succeed after a difficult start to his career at the club. The worry is that Borini has scored just once since making his move from Roma this summer. Although he initially played most of his matches on the left wing, it is still a poor return for any player in that kind of position. In addition, he has struggled to make an impact on a match, and can be guilty of spurning chances for the team. It would be unwise to rush Borini back into first-team action, especially given Suarez will also miss six matches next season, but should Sturridge suffer an injury layoff, Borini may be forced to make an early comeback.
Although Shelvey is primarily a midfielder, he has played as a forward a few times this season. His most notable performance in this position was against West Ham, where Suarez was unavailable due to picking up 5 bookings. Shelvey managed to claim a 79th minute winner, and was praised by Rodgers for his performance, calling him ‘outstanding’ and showing appreciation for how he combined the midfield while playing this role. Shelvey hasn’t enjoyed a run in the first team for a while, so this could be his chance to prove himself to the small number of Liverpool fans who have criticised the youngster.
The 19 year old has enjoyed an impressive season for the U-21′s, and would be the favourite of the current youngsters to be chosen to have a first team role. Morgan’s finishing has caught the attention of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who was quoted as saying “in terms of finishing, he is probably one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.” Although Morgan has yet to score an official goal for Liverpool, he did score in a 1-1 friendly draw against Toronto FC. Given Rodgers’ record with giving youth a chance, I would not be surprised to see Morgan have a bigger role in Liverpool’s next few games.
Raheem Sterling could potentially be brought back into the first team fold, and tested in a more central role, while Ousamma Assaidi could also be tried in this position. From the youth team, Jerome Sinclair could be given another chance to impress, while Samed Yesil is still sitting out due to injury.