Club Focus – Liverpool – Reds lose Jamie Carragher to a shoulder injury

Liverpool will be without vice-captain Jamie Carragher for around three months after the centre-back was informed he would need surgery on his dislocated shoulder. Carragher, 32, suffered the injury in the away defeat to Tottenham last time out and it was initially thought he would miss up to six weeks. However, a full assessment on Tuesday indicated a return before March was unlikely.

The Reds are already without talismanic captain Steven Gerrard until next Saturday and now the absence of Carragher will prove to be a big blow for Roy Hodgson’s side. Not only is the defender a local hero, but the former England international is also a key component at the back for Liverpool thanks to the way he reads the game.

The loss of Carragher leaves the Anfield side short of options in defence. Although Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Martin Skrtel are fully fit and available for selection, they are the only experienced centre-backs available to Hodgson whilst Daniel Agger also recovers from injury. Should either of them pick up an injury or suspension, Liverpool will be left with rookie defenders Martin Kelly or Danny Wilson to fill the gap.

It is suggested that the youngsters should be given a chance in the team if they are needed, however with Liverpool struggling it is likely that Hodgson will look to bring in a new centre-half when the January transfer window finally opens. Lille’s French defender Adil Rami, who made his debut for the national team in August, is being heavily linked with a move to Anfield.

Carragher’s absence also leaves Liverpool with a leadership problem. The Red’s Number 23 usually captains the side when Gerrard is injured, but with both men now unable to participate, Hodgson will have to select another player to take the armband, for another two games at least. Pepe Reina is the obvious choice – his commitment and love for the club led him to signing a new long-term contract in the summer despite plenty of interest from other top European sides. The Spaniard has also been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers since his arrival.

Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos is another option according to Hodgson. Kyrgiakos has been a shining light for the Reds in what has otherwise been a poor start to the season, however there are doubts as to whether he should be made skipper despite not being a regular in the first eleven. Torres, Kuyt and Lucas’ names are also being mentioned, but Hodgson has indicated he will chose between Reina and Kyrgiakos.

Meanwhile, the Reds have flown out to Romania ahead of their Europa League fixture against Steaua Bucharest. In addition to Gerrard, Carragher and Agger, Liverpool will miss key players in Meireles, Kuyt and Torres for this game, with Hodgson deciding to leave them at home. The manager feels that the likes of Babel, Poulsen and Shelvey as well as the retuning Joe Cole should be able to do the trick. A win would see the Merseysiders qualify for the next round.

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