With their mercurial captain Steven Gerrard already sidelined with the unfortunate hamstring tweak he sustained whilst on international duty not so very long ago, Liverpool have been dealt another cruel blow in the ‘leadership’ stakes after watching their erstwhile second in command, Jamie Carragher, trudge from the pitch yesterday with his left arm hanging disconcertingly limply from the corresponding shoulder joint.
The news has since been tentatively confirmed by the club that Carragher did indeed dislocate his shoulder in the dramatic 2-1 defeat to Tottenham, and will now face a lay-off of at least six weeks (three months if the injury requires an operation to pin the shoulder) before he is cleared to return to the first-team fold.
Carragher fell awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Peter Crouch with just five minutes of the game left to play, yet there was still time for his replacement, Greek centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos, to be jostled by the Spurs forward, who managed to flick a ball on for the scurrying Aaron Lennon to successfully seal a 92nd minute victory for the Londoners.
Carragher will now undergo a series of further scans this morning at Liverpool’s Melwood training complex, in a bid to ascertain the true extent of the injury, but manager Roy Hodgson is not particularly confident of receiving any positive feedback from his medical staff:
“I don’t know how long Jamie will be out for, but it’s a serious injury. We’ll miss his leadership skills and we’ve got Daniel Agger still injured and we’re not overly blessed with centre-halves.
The injury to Steven Gerrard came at the wrong time, and now Jamie – they’re two big losses. But Steven is making big strides and we’ll just have to wait and see on Jamie.”
Having arguably put in their most convincing away performance of the season to date against Spurs (who themselves lost influential gadabout Rafael van der Vaart and defender Younes Kaboul to fairly serious injuries), Hodgson was also a little aggrieved to have lost in such dilatory circumstances:
“It was cruel to come away with nothing having played well, lost our talismanic centre-half, and then paid the price for not dealing with a routine long ball. I’m finding it hard to come to terms that we go away with nothing.”
Liverpool, who’s 2010/11 campaign can be described as being fairly ‘rudderless’ so far, now face the prospect of going into at least the next couple of fixtures (Gerrard is unlikely to return within the next fortnight) without either of the players that Hodgson rightly deems to be the ‘lifeblood’ of the current Anfield set-up.
An hour or so before the kick-off at White Hart Lane, the balls were drawn for the 3rd round of the FA Cup, with Liverpool finding themselves pitted against a familiar foe in the only all-Premier League fixture.
The draw serendipitously produced a trip to Old Trafford for Liverpool in order to face Manchester United, with Hodgson bemoaning that one of the more prestigious clubs in the competition are now certain to make a swift exit from the tournament come the weekend of January 8th/9th:
“It will be an excellent game of football, but it’s a bit unfortunate that two Premier League teams of the quality of Manchester United and us get drawn together.
“I always feel that’s a bit sad. But it’ll be a cracking game of football. No doubt we’ll find ourselves on the television again. We seem to be on every week, so I better get my make-up ready.”
The draw was conducted at Wembley by Oasis founder-member Noel Gallagher, who watched as friend Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian fame drew Manchester United in a home tie. The puppet-faced guitarist then managed to fetch Liverpool out of the hat to follow, allowing his loyalty to mutual rivals Manchester City to surface in the process, saying:
“It’s a pity they can’t both get knocked out.”
Pizzorno also snagged a home tie for his boyhood team, Leicester City, with Gallagher then ensuring a prolonged period of inter-band sniping by fortuitously drawing City’s ball from the bowl.