Liverpool will be without young England star Raheem Sterling for their clash against Tottenham Hotspur, the BBC has confirmed. Also missing out will be midfielder Lucas Leiva, whose position will likely be taken by Emre Can. Unfortunately for Spurs, Phillip Coutinho seems to be over whatever knock he took at the weekend and should feature as will newly-returned striker Daniel Sturridge.
I am told Raheem Sterling is out of #LFC's game with Spurs tonight with a knock.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) February 10, 2015
Raheem Sterling's injury is the knock he took to his foot against Everton on Saturday.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) February 10, 2015
Additionally, it's possible that Adam Lallana could return to the lineup for Liverpool. I'm not certain how much this affects Liverpool. If Can moves into midfield for Leiva, then Dejan Lovren likely joins the Liverpool back three alongside Skrtel and Sakho and then Sturridge slides into Sterling's position at the head of Liverpool's attack. Other than those changes, I'd imagine we see pretty much the same lineup that Liverpool used against Everton, including young wingback Jordan Ibe.
Tottenham will certainly be thankful to not see Raheem Sterling, but the likely inclusion of Daniel Sturridge doesn't exactly lessen the blow. Likewise, Lucas is a key cog for Liverpool's midfield, but Can is equally capable and probably brings a bit more brute strength to the middle of the park. The big gain here is that this pulls Can out of defense, where he's performed well of late. In the Premier League, Liverpool haven't used a back three that wasn't Can, Skrtel, and Sakho since they drew against Leicester on New Year's Day. That pairing included Kolo Toure, who is still not back from African Cup of Nations Duty. Thus, an unfamiliar group at the back could work to Spurs' advantage.