The hits just keep on coming for Liverpool, whose defense went into Thursday with Mamadou Sahko, Daniel Agger, and José Enrique all sidelined with injury. By the end of the day, however, right back Glen Johnson had joined the Reds’ injury concerns, the England international now sidelined for an ‘indefinite’ period of time.
According to Brendan Rodgers, Johnson has been trying to fight through a collection of injuries for some time. With the busy part of England’s schedule apparently taking its toll, the Liverpool boss has elected to shelf his 29-year-old fullback despite having little idea when he’ll return.
Rodgers’ explanation, from The Guardian’s Thursday report:
“Glen has played a lot of the season with injuries and really put himself out for the team, but unfortunately he is struggling with a number of injuries now … It will be indefinite really, the timeline he will be out.
“He’s had a real bad ankle for a period of time and just one or two other issues that haven’t allowed him to be 100%. I think everyone has seen over many years the speed, fluency and how good he’s been, but for part of this season he’s been restricted … We just need to assess it and we’ll take it from there.”
According to the Guardian, the recent return of Flanagan to full training should help alleviate Liverpool’s woes. Sahko’s close, too. But Enrique is still weeks away, Agger is still struggling, and even Sebastian Coates, on his way back to Nacional, isn’t available to help.
Defense was already a problem for Liverpool, but with this week’s injury, the Reds’ problems at the become a potentially season-defining concern. We’ve seen Rodgers’ group perform like one of the league’s top four teams for much of the year, but if Liverpool can’t get healthy, both Tottenham and Everton are in position to pounce. With only one point separating fourth from sixth, upcoming games against Everton (Jan. 28) and Arsenal (Feb. 8) could leave a hampered Liverpool struggling to keep up..
The season’s last Merseyside Derby is less than a week away, with both the blue and red halves of Liverpool eyeing a Champions League spot. But when that battle kicks off at Anfield, who will be healthy enough to start in Liverpool’s defense?