Sunday 17 December 2017

Anfield on virus alert as Rodgers forced to miss match

Jeremy Wilson

Liverpool are facing an anxious wait to discover if any other members of their squad or coaching staff have been struck down by the norovirus after manager Brendan Rodgers was forced to miss the win over Queens Park Rangers.

Having travelled to London, Rodgers was joined by goalkeeper Brad Jones and head of performance Glen Driscoll in showing symptoms of the vomiting bug.

Club doctors immediately sent him home and tried to isolate those infected – assistant manager Colin Pascoe was kept clear of the dressing-room at half-time for fear of passing on the virus.

It meant that Mike Marsh, the first-team coach, had to deliver the half-time team-talk.

Liverpool are due to face Sunderland on Wednesday, with the club now closely monitoring players and staff in an attempt to restrict the outbreak.

"Brendan phoned me this morning at eight o'clock," said Pascoe.

"I wasn't feeling very well myself, but he's worse than me. He was very, very white.

"The way the medical team and the doctors tried to isolate the players and the staff, they've been fantastic.

"Hopefully they'll have nipped it in the bud and not too many will be affected by it.

"Brendan picked the team. All the preparation for the game was all done.

"I did the presentations to the team, but they were prepared by the manager.

Rodgers was not sufficiently well enough to communicate instructions by phone during the game.

Liverpool were still dominant, however, with Steven Gerrard, the captain, describing the first-half performance as their best of the season.

"We knew if we started well we could quieten the crowd and our football would take over," said Gerrard. "It was probably the best we played in the first half this season.

"Luis Suarez has been brilliant for us since he has come to the club. These players only have to play against him twice a year, we have to train with him every day. He's a magician."

On the absence of Rodgers from the touchline and the dressing-room, Gerrard added: "There was a gap there – it was tough. You can tell when Brendan is not there. He's been fantastic since he came in. We knew it would be important that we got the three points for him."

Liverpool are awaiting the results of a scan on Jose Enrique, who could be facing a long spell on the sidelines after suffering hamstring tear.

The Spaniard limped off after 71 minutes at Loftus Road and Pascoe confirmed: "Unfortunately, it looks like he's got a tear. He was terrific today, absolutely superb, and the way he's been performing these last couple of months has been a joy to watch." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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