Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given an update on the fitness of several key players while also explaining his decision to switch to a 3-5-2 formation in recent games.

During his weekly press conference Rodgers revealed that he expected a number of players to return to action once the international break is concluded.

Joe Allen, Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho could all be in line for a recall to first team action, but it seems that influential midfielder Philippe Coutinho will still be out of action for some time.

"Glen's out on the field and hopefully after the international break he'll be ready to come back into the squad," said Rodgers.

"We're okay. Aly Cissokho has trained over the course of the last week or so, so I think after the international break he'll be fine and fit. Joe Allen likewise - he should be ready for the Newcastle game.

"Glen Johnson and Coutinho will not be long after. Obviously Sebastian Coates will be that bit longer and has a bit more to do yet, but apart from that we're getting back to our numbers now."

In recent weeks Liverpool have employed a new formation that seems tailor made for two absentees in Johnson and Coutinho. Using a 3-5-2 formation will allow the England full back to supplement attacks, while the Brazilian playmaker will take up a position just behind in-form strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

Despite having neither of these players available for the trip to Sunderland, Rodgers choose to use the system and explained why he felt it would bring the best out of his players.

"When we tried it last year, we looked at it in training and then played it in a couple of games. But you have to see it under pressure and have to see where you need to adapt things," Rodgers explained.

"The players have carried it out really well in the last couple of games. It can be a system that works for us; but what doesn't change is our idea of the game, how we want to pass, how we want to be aggressive in our attack.

"It gives us numbers going forward, which is important. It's another system that the players have shown we can play. With more play and more development, it's one that we can flip to quite easily.

"It's wherever you can get superiority in the game. If I look at Daniel and Luis Suarez, they are both nine-and-a-halves. They are not straight up and down strikers, they like to move and get in between.

"The game is evolving all the time; as a coach you are always looking at your players. The style never changes. I've always asked teams to control and dominate the ball, be aggressive in your defending, and press really aggressively and high up the pitch - but that can be in whatever system.

"The system is irrelevant; it's normally based on the characteristics of your players. If you have got them [Sturridge and Suarez] through the middle, moving and interchanging, then your structure has to then change behind that, and that's obviously something that we have done."