Liverpool Vs Sunderland, Sat 13 Aug 2011


Striker Luis Suarez could play in Liverpool's opening match of the Barclays Premier League campaign at home to Sunderland despite only returning to training on Monday.

The Uruguay international's involvement in winning the Copa America prevented him from featuring in the club's pre-season but manager Kenny Dalglish will consider him for selection.

New signings Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Alexander Doni are all in the squad - the club is awaiting the completion of a deal for Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique - but captain Steven Gerrard and defender Martin Skrtel are both out and full-back Glen Johnson (hamstring) faces a late fitness test.

"We are delighted with who we have brought in. We think it helps the squad," boss Kenny Dalglish said of his summer recruitment.

"We had to improve the squad that we had and that's the important thing - I think people would have been disappointed if we hadn't.

"We are happy with the business we have done and look forward to the start of the season like everybody else.

"Every club is exactly the same as us and has high expectation before a ball has been kicked.

"We are all excited. Everybody looks forward to it (the start of a season); I suppose it's a wee bit like Christmas Day for the kids isn't it?

"We just hope we can fulfil the expectation. But at the same time we will try to remain realistic and concentrate on one game at a time and see where that takes us."

Sunderland defender John O'Shea will have to wait to make his debut for the club after being ruled out.

The Republic of Ireland international, who joined the club from Manchester United during the summer, damaged a hamstring during pre-season and is not yet ready to resume.

Fellow new boys Keiren Westwood, Wes Brown, Craig Gardner, David Vaughan, Sebastian Larsson, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won will all hope to have forced their way into manager Steve Bruce's plans, although Craig Gordon, David Meyler and Fraizer Campbell (all knee) remain on the sidelines.

Bruce has had a busy close season during which he has recruited 10 new men, although he insists he will not make wholesale changes.

Opposite number Dalglish has spent even more heavily, although Bruce believes former club Manchester United will still be the team to beat in the race for the title.

He said: "Anybody who finishes above Manchester United will win the league. They are the ones.

"They won the league, they have spent wisely again - and I don't think they are finished. They are the ones to beat.

"But Liverpool have certainly made great strides in six months and with Kenny back at the helm, it has rejuvenated them.

"They were in the papers for all the wrong reasons, which is not like Liverpool.

"Over the years, it has been a closed shop there and you only see Liverpool on the back pages.

"We have seen it too often in turmoil, which is not like Liverpool. It has a great history, a great tradition and with Kenny in charge, then they have got every chance."

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