Injury boost for Liverpool with Mario Balotelli fit to face Crystal Palace

Mario Balotelli is expected to be fit for Liverpool’s trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday, despite returning to Merseyside early after suffering a hamstring injury while with Italy.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 19, 2014: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli in action against Queens Park Rangers' Yun Suk-Young during the Premier League match at Loftus Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 24-year-old has returned to Merseyside for treatment but the injury is not expected to keep the striker sidelined for an extended period, explains The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter – providing there is no reaction in training this week.

He should also be joined in the squad by Daniel Sturridge, who has returned to full training after missing 14 games through two different injuries.

The England forward is unlikely to start the match after so long on the sidelines, so Balotelli’s fitness is a boost for boss Brendan Rodgers.

If Sturridge is in fact deemed fit enough to start, that could see the two of them partner each other up front and see a long awaited return to the midfield diamond shape that supporters have desired in recent weeks.

Balotelli looks more comfortable with a player up front alongside him, and hopefully Sturridge’s return can see an improvement to his form too. They partnered each other just once so far, on Balotelli’s debut at Tottenham – arguably The Reds’ best performance this season.

Rodgers should provide a fitness update the two at his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon.