Liverpool will remain without Daniel Sturridge for their forthcoming trip to Bournemouth. The injury-plagued England striker sustained a calf strain last week and was forced to miss the Premier League defeat of Sunderland in addition to Tuesday night's (29 November) EFL Cup quarter-final victory over Leeds United.
Sturridge has largely played second fiddle to Roberto Firmino in Jurgen Klopp's attacking pecking order so far this term, making just four top-flight starts in total since August. It had been suggested that he was potentially set for a more significant role following a goalless draw at Southampton a fortnight ago, only for this latest problem, which has again prevented him from training over recent days, to hinder those ambitions.
Sturridge's diminishing importance in 2016/17 has led to renewed speculation that he could be set to leave Anfield in January. West Ham United have been persistently linked with a big-money move for the 27-year-old as they attempt to make a renewed splash in the transfer market after a frustrating second campaign under Slaven Bilic, although Klopp appears adamant that he is not considering sanctioning the sale of any first-team players this winter.
"I don't think it makes sense (to sell)," he was quoted as saying at his pre-match press conference by the Liverpool Echo. "Unfortunately, Daniel is not in training. That is more important than transfers. You and your colleagues create stories and then ask me about them. There is no thought of selling any player from first-team squad. I am prepared for all the things you'll ask me in January. It will be funny for sure."
Second-place Liverpool travel south to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (4 December) hoping to return to the top of the table and maintain an extremely impressive run of form that has seen them go 15 matches unbeaten across all competitions since that anomalous 2-0 summer loss at Burnley. The starting XI will have a more familiar look after Klopp made eight changes to the side that faced Leeds, although Philippe Coutinho is expected to be sidelined for at least five weeks after being stretchered off with an ankle problem against Sunderland.
Joel Matip looks set to return, while Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino are now back in training after groin and calf issues respectively. Knee injury victims Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings will both be sidelined for the rest of the season.
"There will be a few changes, probably," Klopp added. "I'm happy about each player that is back in training. Adam has been training since Thursday; yesterday was the first session and he looked good. We need to see how he reacts to the intensity of the training yesterday – it was quite intense for him, I think, but all good. Having him back is cool.
"Roberto trained yesterday, too. That's important. There's still a little bit of pain – it's painful but not that serious. When you can deal with the pain, then everything is fine. He is quite a tough guy, so he came through the session yesterday. Again, we have to see how he reacts and that's it."
Klopp was unsure yet if 17-year-old Ben Woodburn would remain in the squad to play Bournemouth after edging out Michael Owen by 98 days to become the youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history with his late strike against Leeds. He did, however, confirm that Sheyi Ojo, while no longer hampered by a back fracture, was set for a stint with Michael Beale's U23s in order to build up his match fitness.