Injuries Hamper Liverpool’s Rush To Europe Return
Liverpool defenders Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson both picked up injuries last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at EPL strugglers West Bromwich Albion, which will leave Agger out for the rest of the season, and Johnson out for most of it.
The defeat had extra significance as manager Kenny Dalglish’s predecessor in the Anfield hotseat, Roy Hodgson, is now in charge of the Baggies.
Meanwhile, a representative of Liverpool’s sponsors, Standard Charter bank made unusual headlines when he called on the Reds to “nurture foreign players from Asia.” And club owner John Henry this week admitted that his “worst surprise” on taking over at Anfield was “the lack of depth in the squad.”
Liverpool lie in sixth place in the EPL, five points behind Tottenham and a place in next season’s Europa League, the Reds having played one more game. They fell to two second-half penalties at the Hawthorns, the winner arriving in the 88th minute, having taken the lead shortly after the interval.
But the real longer-term damage was done during the first quarter. Johnson joined the likes of club captain Steven Gerrard on the injury list when he went off with a hamstring injury after only eight minutes. The England international right-back is expected to be out until early May, starting with Monday night’s Anfield visit of fourth-placed Manchester City.
Agger, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury which forced his withdrawal in the 24th minute. The Danish international will be out for two months, taking him beyond the end of the domestic season, with an injury to a tendon behind the knee.
Fenway Sports Group supremo Henry told FourFourTwo magazine that the weakness in Liverpool’s squad was “a bigger issue than we feared” when the consortium took over in October.
He added: “Our biggest concern was this issue. There was a huge multi-year payroll for a squad that had very little depth.”
Standard Charter’s sponsorship chief Gavin Laws offered an eye-catching solution, in a speech to the ‘SoccerEx’ conference in Manchester last week.
The firm has a strong presence in the Asian market and Laws suggested: “The real power Liverpool could do for us is if there is a way to nurture foreign players from Asia. One appearance from a player from, say, Dubai, in the Premier League and you’d have the whole of Dubai watching it.”
His comments were published in newspapers on April Fools’ Day but were made the day before.
Tags: Liverpool, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Kenny Dalglish, EPL, Steven Gerrard, Premier League