Roy Hodgson delivered a scathing verdict on Glen Johnson’s poor form for Liverpool this season, claiming it was ‘nowhere near’ what he would ‘expect of an England right-back’. Johnson has been restricted by injury to just one start in Liverpool’s past seven games – he will also miss this evening’s match against Stoke – but Hodgson insinuated that his form has been so poor that he would have struggled to play anyway.
“He’s the England right-back and if he plays like that one would expect him to come back in,” he told The Guardian. “But then he’d have to play like the England right-back and up to now, to be quite frank, he’s not performed – very often at least – to the level I’d expected of him.”
Reina to stay.
Recent rumours have insinuated that this season will be Pepe Reina’s last at Anfield, with the goalkeeper having expressed his disappointment at Liverpool’s on-pitch performances being insufficient to match his trophy-winning ambitions. Speaking to Liverpool’s official’s website, he claimed such rumours were untrue and that he remains as fully committed to Liverpool as ever.
The goalkeeper, an influential figure in the Anfield dressing room, said: “I have not told the manager that I wish to leave in January or at any other time.” His statement will assuage the fears of fans that their long-serving goalkeeper would leave: “It is important our fans know this. I have a long-term contract at the club and am fully committed to the club.”
Glen Johnson and Joe Cole are likely to be Liverpool’s most prominent absentees for Saturday evening’s game against Stoke. Martin Kelly, who has eased into first-team contention comfortably with assured displays against Chelsea and Wigan, looks likely to retain his place. The prognosis for Fabio Aurelio and Sortiris Kyrgiakos is more promising on the other hand, with both expected to make the match-day squad. Kyrgiakos, following a strong run of form at centre-back, will be expected to return to the starting line-up.
The other doubt, according to skysports.com, is Raul Meireles after he was substituted due to illness during midweek’s game at the DW Stadium.