Liverpool have had to deal with the enforced absence of Daniel Sturridge and the departure of Luis Suarez this season, but you still won’t believe the goalscoring stats – or lack of – from their front-three that highlights their biggest struggles this season.
Sturridge has missed nearly eight weeks through injury having suffered a setback in his recovery from an initial thigh strain that should have seen him return at the start of last month. In his absence, Mario Balotelli has only found the net twice in 13 matches, and he is yet to open his Premier League account since returning to England.
While the Italian can be forgiven for trying to learn and understand Liverpool’s style of play, it is in attack that Brendan Rodgers will have the biggest concerns heading into a busy period of the season.
Video: Real Madrid vs Liverpool match preview
The trio of Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini have played a combined 888 minutes of Premier League football this season, but they are yet to score a single goal in that time. Compare that to the record of Sturridge and Suarez at the same point in the season last term and Liverpool are already 14 goals worse off in the league alone.
They have managed to get just 16 of their combined 32 shots at goal on target, and the most alarming aspect for Rodgers could very well be the number of touches in the opposition’s box his strikers are having, with Sky Sports working out an average of less than five per match.
Liverpool injury list
Liverpool injury list
1/5 Adam Lallana
Replaced against Manchester United after picking up a groin problem, missed the game against Arsenal and is unlikely to return against Blackburn.
2/5 Jordan Ibe
The promising youngster has been out with a knee injury but returned to light training last month.
3/5 Brad Jones
A thigh injury forced the goalkeeper off on Boxing Day last year with no return date set.
4/5 Jon Flanagan
Hurt during pre-season, the defender is still yet to feature this season. Training is becoming more intensive for the 22-year-old and he played a small cameo in the Steven Gerrard charity game at Anfield.
5/5 Mario Balotelli
Missed the game against Arsenal but could be fit against Blackburn after training with the first team.
That will hardly strike fear into tonight’s opposition, with defending Champions League holders Real Madrid have already seen Cristiano Ronaldo score an incredible 23 goals this season alone. With the likes of Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and a fit-again Gareth Bale also set to feature it could be a long night for Rodgers’ side.
The Reds are likely to be without influential payers such as Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Rodgers keeping one eye on Saturday’s Premier League meeting with league leaders Chelsea.
It means that a number of fringe players could be given a run out, but robs Liverpool of their most potent threat on the form of Sterling.
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