Mamadou Sakho is not eligible to play on Sunday during his loan spell from Liverpool and this kind of selection poser is something that Sam Allardyce has had to come to terms with in recent weeks when hit by a long injury list but it does give other members of the squad an opportunity to come in and put their case forward in the competition for places.
The boss took time out during his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon to pay credit to others who have come in and taken their chance to impress him with particular attention given to defender Martin Kelly, who returns to the north-west on Sunday having been involved over recent weeks in victories against Chelsea and Arsenal.
“Martin Kelly is one I would like to single out as he has come back in and done a fantastic job at centre back after us losing Scott Dann and James Tomkins in the same match at Chelsea . He has done a magnificent job which is what we need from our squad players and another one is Jeffrey Schlupp who has come in whilst Patrick had to miss out through injury. There is big competition for places and I think over the last six games we have been in such good form and have achieved more than two points per game.
“We are in Champions League form as far as picking up points is concerned and this should give us a huge amount of confidence to go to Liverpool and test them. That must be our focus and we can be good enough, brave enough and confident to try and repeat what we have done against Chelsea and Arsenal to a level of performance that can give Liverpool a very good game.”