Dalglish: Reds must rise above injuries
Published 08/04/2011 | 14:33
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits the resilience of his squad may be stretched to the limit by their current injury problems but that will not excuse any drop-off in performances.
Dalglish's fears were confirmed when captain Steven Gerrard, having already been sidelined for a month after a groin operation, was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with an associated injury sustained in training a week ago.
Having lost influential centre-back Daniel Agger to a knee problem in midweek and with full-backs Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly a month away from fitness because of hamstring strains it appears a long season is starting to catch up with the Reds.
Their involvement in the Europa League meant they kicked off, under the leadership of now departed boss Roy Hodgson, with a first competitive match on July 29.
Although many of the first-teamers were used sparingly in that competition the cumulative effect of a difficult season seems now to be conspiring against Dalglish in his bid to catch fifth-placed Tottenham and qualify for Europe again.
"Anybody getting injured is disappointing for us, but also disappointing for the players," said the 60-year-old Scot.
"We know where we stand and we have to get on with it.
"It may be stretching the resolve of the players a little bit but we've got to go right to the limit and make sure we're not feeling sorry for ourselves because we've lost three or four players through injury.
"We've just got to get on with it and accept that's the position we're in. It's up to us to make the best of it."
Gerrard will undergo further assessment in order to get to the root of a problem which robbed the England midfielder of his best form over the last few months.
It was testament to the 30-year-old he was able to get through as many matches he did when obviously not 100% but it impacted on his influence.
That was highlighted in what turned out to be his final game of the season in the 3-1 win over Manchester United at Anfield on March 6 when he was barely noticeable.
The only up-side of his continued lay-off is that it affords the opportunity for a solution to be found to what has been a troublesome injury problem in time for him to start next season pain-free.
"We still don't know definitively what the problem is," said Dalglish.
"We will wait to get a precise answer from the people that he has to see but he won't be involved again this season.
"It is a blow to anyone but it's more disappointing for the players than it is for us, obviously.
"We just have to get on with it and without being disrespectful to the players who are injured the most important ones are the ones who are fit.
"They are the ones who can be chosen. At this particular moment in time I'm as good a player as Steven."
In Gerrard's absence 22-year-old academy graduate Jay Spearing has seized his chance, having his best game for the club in last month's win at Sunderland.
Dalglish hopes others, like 19-year-old defender Danny Wilson who was signed from Rangers last summer, will have a similar opportunity to benefit.
"Jay is an experienced youngster but he was in last week (against West Brom) any way and was in against Everton (back in January) before he fractured a bone in his foot," said the Reds boss.
"Out of somebody's misfortune always comes good fortune for somebody else.
"For certain players they'll be closer to getting a game in the first team than what they would have been if the lads had been fit."