Liverpool may seek to buy a striker in the transfer window following a new injury blow to Daniel Sturridge which is likely to rule him out of contention until the middle of January.
Manager Brendan Rodgers knows there is a little value in the January window, especially for a club who are known to be in need of reinforcement. But with Sturridge’s scans diagnosing that he has sustained a new thigh injury and Mario Balotelli’s return to the club clouded by doubts about his international future, Liverpool’s goalscoing options look desperately slim.
The club has been intermittently monitoring the CSKA Moscow striker Seydo Doumbia ever since Kenny Dalglish’s second period as manager of the club, but Liverpool will be aware of the huge salaries offered by Russian clubs to hold onto star players like the Ivorian. Doumbia has scored a remarkable 60 goals in 92 appearances for CSKA since his move from Young Boys of Switzerland in 2010 and underlined his ability against Manchester City in the Champions League earlier this month.
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.
Liverpool confirmed that Sturridge’s latest setback stems from a fresh thigh injury – not the one sustained while training for England at the start of September, which lead Rodgers to express frustration over Roy Hodgson apparently disregarding the player’s request not to take part in training. That injury kept him out for nearly six weeks before the player injured his calf in the warm-up to his first session back, ending hopes that he would be fit for the visit to Queens Park Rangers.
Rodgers had harboured high hopes that Sturridge would be available to play for Liverpool at Crystal Palace on Sunday. The player’s suggestion earlier this month that he may be suffering from a genetic weakness has only heightened anxieties.
Sturridge’s absence during the entirety of December would come as a heavy blow to Rodgers, whose side face a visit to Manchester United and Arsenal at home, seven days later, as well as in-form Swansea City. Their programme is a little easier in January.
Sturridge’s extended lay-off intensifies the need for Mario Balotelli to begin delivering, though he returns to Melwood after a difficult international break which saw Italy manager Antonio Conte insisting that will not be able to change Balotelli and casting doubts over his future in the national side.
Conte handed the Liverpool striker a first call up to the national team since succeeding Cesare Prandelli, but saw the striker sustain a hamstring injury that made him unavailable for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia. “I’m not so arrogant as to claim that I'm different from the great coaches, but the past tells us that they failed to change Balotelli,“ Conte said. ”It'll be up to the player, but I don't have much time and I need certain things.“
Sturridge’s last start – in the 3-0 win at Tottenham on 31 August - seems a distant memory in a season which Liverpool have scored a mere 14 goals and seem a shadow of last season’s attacking side. Rodgers wanted Sturridge fit for Liverpool’s match at PFC Ludogorets in Sofia next Wednesday. The side need a win to maintain any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
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