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Team News & Injury Update: Rodgers Gives Latest On Agger, Coutinho & Kelly
The Reds moved a single point clear of second-placed Arsenal with Monday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea so will be hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend to consolidate their position at the summit of the league.
Ahead of the game boss Brendan Rodgers has given Liverpoolfc.com a team news and injury update with the latest on the fitness of Daniel Agger, Philippe Coutinho and Martin Kelly.
Agger missed the clash at the Liberty Stadium with a minor problem caused by over-stretching the day before the match but Rodgers is hopeful he’ll be fit enough to play this weekend.
“We’ll see how he [Agger] is in the next 24 hours,”
“It’s too early to say if he’ll be ready for the weekend or not. It was just unfortunate it happened the day before the game. We’re hopeful he’ll be fine by the weekend.” Rodgers told Liverpoolfc.com
Fellow defender Kelly completed a full match for the U-21′s on Tuesday night and Rodgers feels he’s close to being in contention for a first team return after several months on the sidelines. He continued:
“In the game the other night, the reserve game, he [Kelly] definitely stepped up a level in terms of his fitness.
“We’ve played him in a couple of games at centre-half; it has been a long time that he’s been out and you’ve just got to nurture him back. We felt that was the game to push him on.
“He has been excellent in training – he is very focused on his fitness and sharpness. In the game the other night he was excellent.
“So he’s getting close and he’ll be a great one to have back in the team because he’s an experienced player. He has been around the club for a long time and when he got injured last year he was one of our best players.
“I’m looking forward to having him back and thankfully it has all gone well so far.”
Liverpool were rocked by the news that playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be on the sidelines for around six weeks after injuring his shoulder on Monday and Rodgers confirmed to the clubs official website that the Brazilian has undergone surgery today.
“He’s only just having it today so the timescale from the medics is obviously up to six weeks,” he said.
“We wouldn’t anticipate any sooner than that. It’s unfortunate for him because he’s been in great form since he came here in January.
“Hopefully we’ll get him back sooner rather than later and then he can come into the group again.
“It was one where it was more the fall than the challenge. The challenge was probably a bit clumsy but it was actually more the fall that did the damage.
“In those scenarios the bone may be bruised but unfortunately for Philippe the bone came through the muscle. That’s what the pain was and why the operation was needed.
“It’s unfortunate because he was a really pivotal player for us in the game. When he went, we lost that connection between our midfield and the front line; it disrupted our balance a bit.
“These things happen in football. Hopefully he’ll recover quickly and come back to us in good shape.
“We want to have all the best players available here that we possibly can. You want the problem, as the manager, of who to choose and especially how we’ve started.
“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had a number of injuries that have all happened at the same time. The injury record we’ve had here has been very good, but these are things that you can’t plan for and it’s just something we have to deal with.”
We’ll have our full match preview for the Southampton game up on Friday afternoon but for now give us your preferred line-ups for the clash in the comments section below.