Roy Hodgson says that Luka Milivojevic will unfortunately not be returning to the Crystal Palace team for the final game of the Premier League season away to Liverpool.
The Palace captain has missed the last two games against Aston Villa and Arsenal due to family issues, and Hodgson confirmed that the midfielder will not be back among the squad for the trip to face Liverpool at Anfield.
As well as Milivojevic’s absence, Hodgson will be sweating on the fitness of Christian Benteke, who picked up an injury in the 3-1 defeat against Arsenal, leaving the pitch after his goal had levelled the scores in the second half.
Hodgson’s assessment of the squad paints a somewhat grim picture for the trip to Liverpool, with Palace struggling to get together a full squad without dipping into the Under-23s side – who will be hoping to stay fresh for their important play-off final clash against Sunderland on Monday evening.
“Luka’s family situation is still very important so we won’t be able to see him,” Hodgson told reporters.
“James McArthur is actually back now in the first elements of training, if you like: the warm up and a little bit of passing he might do. But he’s not taking part in the larger, more intensive exercises. Sakho, the same. Wickham, the same.
“Then of course we’ve really got to find out what the situation is with one or two of the knocks we picked up on Wednesday. We’re not good at three games in a week, we have players who’ve suffered a lot of injuries so they don’t find it easy to play with a very short recovery period.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a crucial morning for us where we literally take a roll call and we find out which of you is in a state to play the game and which of you perhaps is not in a state to play the game.
“And that will also involve checking on the knocks from the other night. Christian Benteke came off with a knock.
“The makeup of our squad and the players coming back from injury etc, a third game after two very tough ones we’ve had is not the right situation for us to comfortably say yeah, we’re great and put out the same team.
“I’ve really got to wait and see tomorrow. I really am hoping that it will be better than I might fear it might be, but until tomorrow I don’t know.”