Liverpool’s latest injury worries: Can Rodgers help Reds overcome crisis?

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Brendan RodgersThe Premier League returns after two weeks of international break and the friendlies and Euro 2016 qualifiers have brought nothing but trouble for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers.

The Merseyside club have seen several of their first team players pick up injuries while on international duty. Star striker Daniel Sturridge picked up a thigh injury during the training and that could keep the striker out of action for two to three weeks, according to the Liverpool Echo.

In addition to this, summer signing Emre Can and Wales midfielder Joe Allen also picked up injuries during the international break. The trio now joins Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan on the treatment table.

Can is set to be out of action for six weeks after damaging ankle ligament during Germany’s U21 fixture against Romania. Allen, Skrtel and Flanagan are on the sidelines with a knee injury, while Johnson is recovering from a thigh injury.

Both Skretl and Johnson are out of action since Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur and are likely to miss the next few matches. The Anfield club have a busy period in the next three weeks as they have seven fixtures lined up during that period.

The list includes two Champions League matches, one Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough and four league fixtures.

The former Swansea manager has strengthened Liverpool squad during the summer transfer window and he believes the depth in the squad will help his side overcome injury worries.

“We’ve been unfortunate. Dan had started the season very well. His performance against Tottenham was excellent. He didn’t score but his pressing, his positional play, his speed, movement and hold up play was first class,” Rodgers told the Liverpool ECHO.

“He will be missed but we’ve got a long season ahead and the important thing now is to get him physically right. It’s disappointing for Emre as he was just starting to find his feet and get his fitness and his power back. He got injured when they were 6-0 up.”

“Joe Allen is back from playing on an awful pitch and has an issue with his knee. He will be assessed for the weekend.”

“Martin Skrtel won’t be available but should hopefully join up with the team when we train on Sunday. Glen Johnson still has a wee way to go and young Jon Flanagan is not ready to be back in the squad yet.”

“This is why it was so important to strengthen the squad during the transfer window.”

“We have options now and that’s key for us. We had a great window in terms of the calibre of players we brought in. We signed young players with quality and some with more experience as that’s what we needed.”

“We were very specific about the types we were bringing in and they have all adapted very well. We did some really good business,” Liverpool manager added.

Can Liverpool overcome the injury worries during the next 21 days and manage to come out on top? Do they have the squad depth to cope with the injury worries? Rodgers remains confident of overcoming the situation and is hoping to rotate players for the next seven fixtures till the injured players return to action.

With Sturridge out of action, the Northern Irishman will rely heavily on his summer signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert to lead Liverpool’s attack. Both the strikers have Premier League experience, but the England international and former Manchester City man is yet to adapt at Anfield.

Sturridge’s absence will see Raheem Sterling take more responsibilities along with Balotelli. Rodgers is likely to hand a chance to Fabio Borini and this could be the opportunity for Borini to show his worth at Liverpool. Failure to shine could possibly be the end of the Italian striker.

Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson will be forced to play in the middle of the park till Can and Allen regains full fitness. Liverpool could struggle in the midfield as playing seven games in three weeks could possibly lead to fatigue to the English duo.

It should be seen whether Gerrard, 34, has the legs playing the full 90 minutes at top level in all the matches, especially during the Champions League fixtures. The midfield area could be where Liverpool could struggle in the upcoming fixtures.

Javi Manquillo will fill in the void left by Johnson. However, the Spaniard is still 20 and does not have enough experience under his belt. Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho will be the heart of the back four, while Kolo Toure could be other available option on the bench for Rodgers.

During the last season, Liverpool were out of the Champions League and had their focus on the league and the cup games. This gave them enough time to prepare for the next match.

However, things have changed this campaign and the injuries could see the Reds struggle. If there are further injuries, Rodgers will hardly be left with options during the team selection.

This crucial period will show if Liverpool have the ability and resilience to overcome this tough situation. Should they manage to do it, it could possibly be a massive mental boost for the Anfield club,

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