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Liverpool Edge Towards Full Strength

Liverpool take on Crystal Palace at the weekend in their last match before the international break.

If they win and Arsenal lose against Manchester United’s recent conquerors West Brom, the Reds will again be top of the table.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is already looking forward to their first match back after the next round of World Cup qualifiers, when Liverpool will travel to face Newcastle.

He expects to have three international players back from injury by then, which will greatly improve the Reds squad which has been impressive in patches already.

Right-back Glen Johnson has not played since injuring himself in Liverpool’s win over United, while left-back Aly Cissokho and midfielder Joe Allen have been crocked since Liverpool’s Capital One win over Notts County.

Of the trio, perhaps only Johnson is an immediate starter. But having Cissokho back would create greater competition for the left-back slot, and we have seen how useful intra-squad competition for places has been at Arsenal.

And Allen’s midfield probing has certainly been missing in the context of star number10 Philippe Coutinho’s injury.

Consequently, Rodgers is bullish that Liverpool will be close to full strength when the Premier League resumes after the international break.

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

"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.

"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."

It will be interesting to see if Liverpool can sustain their place in the upper reaches of the Premier League when all their players return, or if- as many pundits expect- they will fade away to contest fourth-place in the league at best.

Read: Top-6 Liverpool’s Short-Term Goal

Read: Sturridge Hands Liverpool Win

Read: KG: Palace Not Relegation Fodder

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