Liverpool have been struck by an injury blow ahead of their preparations for Saturday's visit to the Lane. Striker Fernando Morientes is suspected to have torn a hamstring while away on international duty with Spain and looks certain to miss out on Saturday and possibly beyond.
Better news for the Reds was a return to reserve action for Peter Crouch this week. The former Spurs striker was a £7m summer investment by boss Rafa Benitez and, with the absence of Morientes, he could play some part. Like Martin Jol with our players, Benitez will be hoping the rest of his international contingent come back unscathed on Thursday.
Although Liverpool failed to add to their ranks on transfer deadline day, Benitez did bolster his ranks early with the capture of Crouch from Southampton, Bol Zenden from Middlesbrough, Momo Sissoko from Valencia, Jose Reina from Villarreal and Antonio Barragan from Seville.
It was strengthening of a squad who won the Champions League in May, but one which will be seeking to improve on a fifth place finish in the Premiership. They have got off to a decent start with a point at Middlesbrough on the opening day - where it really should have been three - and a single goal victory over Sunderland at Anfield.
They have fallen a little bit behind in Premiership games due to Champions League qualifying - which was successfully completed - and the winning of the UEFA Super Cup against CSKA Moscow in Monacco, won courtesy of two goals from Djibril Cisse and one from Luis Garcia.
Last season's meetings resulted in a sharing of the spoils. The opening day clash at the Lane finished 1-1 with Cisse shooting Liverpool ahead before Jermain Defoe levelled matters. It was 2-2 at Anfield, Erik Edman's spectacular strike and Robbie Keane's header were cancelled out by Sami Hyypia and Garcia.