Norwich City are the visitors this weekend as Liverpool return to home soil and domestic action, with manager Dean Smith revealing news of an injury blow ahead of the game.
The Canaries had looked doomed not too long ago, rock bottom and unable to win games or score goals – but the appointment of the former Aston Villa boss has turned matters around.
Three wins and a draw in succession lifted them out of the Premier League bottom three and through to the FA Cup fifth round – where they will face the Reds again in a couple of weeks.
First though it’s the league encounter, with the East Anglia side back in the relegation zone after a hammering against Man City last time out – and they will be without one of the figures who has made a big difference recently, with striker Adam Idah set to miss the remainder of 2021/22.
“We’ve had some bad news about Adam,” Smith said in his pre-match press conference.
“He went in for an arthroscopy and then for a meniscus repair, he should be out for the season now. It’s a real blow and disappointing but it gives other players an opportunity now.”
While only a bit-part player under Daniel Farke, Idah had come into the side of late to make five straight starts, scoring in the win over Everton, assisting another against Crystal Palace and forging a two-man strikeforce partnership with Teemu Pukki.
It could mean either a shift in formation against the Reds, going with an extra midfielder in a 4-3-3, or else Smith opting for a different type of outlet to keep a similar shape to when Idah has partnered the team’s top scorer in attack.
Norwich also had a midweek friendly which saw former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak return to action and one or two other squad players get some much-needed match fitness ahead of the relegation run-in.
“I was mindful of the fact a lot of players needed minutes. It was good in the sense that Ozan played 90 minutes and is now back available. Mathias [Sorensen] had 60 minutes in the practice game in the week, he’s nearing a start which is really good for us,” Smith continued.
First-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul, versatile midfielder Lukas Rupp and defender Andrew Omobamidele all remain sidelined.
Possible Norwich starting line-ups:
(4-4-1-1) Gunn; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Sargent, Lees-Melou, McLean, Placheta; Rashica; Pukki
(4-3-3) Gunn; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Lees-Melou, McLean; Sargent, Pukki, Rashica