Christian Poulsen is expected to be afforded a rare start against basement side West Ham United tomorrow at Anfield after Steven Gerrard limped out of England's friendly defeat to France on Wednesday night. Fabio Capello, the England manager, has been widely criticised for fielding Gerrard after Liverpool proposed he only feature for an hour. "If it's possible, the players will play the time we agreed with the club," the Italian said. "But [Gareth] Barry was really injured, so we needed someone senior on the pitch because it was a really young team. I understand why [Liverpool] are upset and I am also upset."
Jerome Boateng is confident that his difficult early days at Manchester City are behind him. The German missed the start of the season due to a knee injury, and he believes it has taken him a month to get up to his best form. "For every player it is disappointing when you come to a new club and are injured for six or seven games," said Boateng. "You look forward but you can't play and other people are coming in.
"It was frustrating. But now I am happy to be in my normal rhythm of playing every three days. I hope I can play a few more games but I don't feel there is any particular pressure on me to perform."
Manchester United are reportedly in negotiations to sign Anders Lindegaard, the Danish international goalkeeper. Lindegaard, who plays for Aaleslund, has attracted the attentions of the Old Trafford club according to Bjarne Haagensen, the Aaleslund chairman. He told TV2 in Denmark that he and Lindegaard's agent, Henrik Hoff, were in Manchester to talk to United. "Henrik and I are in place in Manchester," he said. "We are in the middle of it. I can't say more right now." United, who are third in the table, will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season tomorrow when they play host to Wigan Athletic.
Andy Carroll made the headlines for the right reasons on Wednesday night as he enjoyed a good start to his international career. The striker impressed for England in their 2-1 loss to France in a friendly at Wembley and drew praise from Fabio Capello, the England coach. "I'm really happy for the performance of Andy because he played very well. He'll be a player who'll be important for the future," the Italian said. "When he received the ball he played quickly and his movement every time was dangerous." Carroll had been an injury doubt due to a groin injury but is expected to feature in Newcastle's trip to Bolton tomorrow.
Ricardo Fuller has been playing through the pain barrier for Stoke, but is confident of being fully fit soon. The Jamaican striker is having to play with a shoulder brace after suffering a dislocation. It did not stop him scoring against Birmingham earlier this month, but he is looking forward to playing uninhibited again soon. He told the Stoke Sentinel: "The shoulder is getting stronger every day because I've been resting it and getting physiotherapy," he said. "I have to strap it up in a shoulder brace which the club had bought for me. I can't play or train without it. It is a precautionary measure so that the shoulder does not slip out."
Steve Bruce has backed Jordan Henderson to learn from his first appearance in an England shirt. The midfielder struggled as France outclassed England in a 2-1 friendly win on Wednesday, but the Sunderland manager said: "It was fantastic to see him in an England shirt and I'm sure he enjoyed it. "It was a tough one for him. We've got to be honest, the French were far, far better on the night. He could have done with a little bit more experience around him. Maybe we had a little bit too much inexperience and that showed a little bit." Henderson will be back in the Sunderland team to face Everton on Monday.
Gareth Bale believes he has become the victim of his own success this season. The Welshman's two stunning displays against Inter Milan in the Champions League has lifted his profile across Europe, but at a cost. More teams are putting more men on him to mark him out of the game he believes. "It has been difficult for me recently when teams have had two players marking me," Bale told The Sun. "In a way I've got to try to find another way to get past them." Bale is bullish of Tottenham's chances of winning at Arsenal tomorrow, adding: "We're good enough to beat anybody and we've shown that in the past."
West Bromwich Albion
Chris Brunt is a major doubt for tomorrow's clash with Stoke after picking up a groin problem while playing for Northern Ireland in midweek. The midfielder limped out of the friendly with Morocco at half-time, and left Roberto Di Matteo frustrated at potentially losing the player. The Italian told West Brom's club website: "We've just had four games in 12 days - and one of those games was with nine men and put a lot of demands on him. The last thing we needed was for him to go to a midweek international game because the risk of injury increases. Friendlies at this stage of the season don't make sense to me."
West Ham United
Despite being rock bottom of the Premier League table, Pablo Barrera believes West Ham are more than capable of picking up only their second win of the season at Liverpool tomorrow. The Hammers have only lost two of their last nine games, but four of those ended in draws. But Barrera told West Ham's official website: "It will be a very difficult match, but we need to start winning," the 23-year-old Mexican said. "The team is playing well despite being frustrated by the results in the recent matches. We have a great chance to get something from Liverpool."
James McCarthy's recovery from his ankle injury is giving Roberto Martinez, the Wigan boss, optimism that he will have the midfielder back in January. The Irishman suffered the injury against Bolton last month and had been expected to be ruled out until as last as March. But Martinez told Wigan's club website: "James has progressed a lot over the last few days in his post-surgery phase. The ankle has reacted very well to the treatment, which we're delighted with. It's too difficult to say exactly when he'll return, but I'm looking at around the third week in January as a guide."
Fabio Capello was the latest recipient of a blast from Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, this week. McCarthy was angry at the England coach for what he believed was his poor treatment of Matt Jarvis, the Wolves winger. Jarvis had been named in England's provisional squad to France but then received no official notification he was in the full squad. McCarthy said: "A text saying 'sorry, you are doing brilliant keep going, a pat and the head' would do no harm."
* Compiled by Gary Meenaghan and Graham Caygill