AL MAJMA’AH — Al Ettifaq manager Steven Gerrard is keeping his fingers crossed for the return of key striker Moussa Dembele in their upcoming Roshn Saudi League fixture against Al Ittihad.
Dembele has been sidelined since October due to a knee injury and underwent a small operation during the international break to aid his recovery.
Since Dembele’s absence, Al Ettifaq has struggled to find the back of the net, managing only three goals in five games, resulting in two consecutive 0-0 draws.
Gerrard expressed his hope to have the former Fulham, Celtic, Lyon, and Atletico Madrid striker back for the crucial match against Al Ittihad on Friday, Nov. 24, a game led by Karim Benzema.
Gerrard acknowledged the team’s recent offensive challenges, stating, “I think it’s obvious we’re missing a center-forward if you’ve looked at our last three or four performances.
“Moussa is always going to be missed, and I’m hoping that if the next week or 10 days go really well, then he possibly could be involved in some capacity in the next game.”
He added, “If not, he won’t be far away from returning after that. It’s not going to be a long time, but we need to be patient and make sure the problem is healed, and he gets the right rehabilitation.”
Reflecting on the recent 0-0 draw against Al Fayha, Gerrard described it as “two points dropped” and highlighted the absence of Jordan Henderson and Moussa Dembele, emphasizing their contributions to the team’s quality in the final third.
Despite defensive solidity, Gerrard noted issues with the team’s final pass or shot and quality in the final third.
Al Fayha manager Vuk Rasovic acknowledged his team’s strong performance against Al Ettifaq, expressing disappointment at not converting good chances into goals.
Rasovic praised his team’s defensive and offensive efforts, noting moments where they hit the post and bar, but acknowledged the need for more confidence in finishing.
Al Fayha, currently eighth in the table with 16 points, looks to improve their attacking prowess in their next fixture against Al Fateh on Saturday, Nov. 25. — SG