Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gerrard injury concerns worsen

Liverpool are sweating over the fitness of skipper Steven Gerrard, after scans revealed his groin injury is worse than first feared.

There is anger within Anfield that the midfielder is now facing a fight to be ready for the weekend visit to Sunderland, after he was kept within the England training camp despite the extent of the injury.

Gerrard only returned to Merseyside yesterday, despite aggravating the problem in England's defeat at the hands of Ukraine on Saturday.

He was immediately booked for a scan, and that has revealed some minor tearing of the fibres in the adductor muscle, and a minor strain.

The initial diagnosis is that the injury will keep him out for a minimum of seven days, which would make him a major doubt for the visit to the Stadium of Light.

And there are fears that the player may have further aggravated a problem he has suffered three times in the past calender year, which would see him sidelined for longer.

Liverpool already have real problems for the trip to Sunderland, with midfielders Javier Mascherano and Lucas both not due back from international duty until Friday, which makes their availability unlikely.

If Gerrard is also ruled out, manager Rafa Benitez will have few options, given that even though new signing Alberto Aquilani is now back in training, he is at least a fortnight away from his first Liverpool appearance.

It will leave the Anfield boss rigorously questioning why his star player was allowed to train with England on Monday following the injury at the weekend, when the adductor tear should have necessitated a scan and extensive treatment.

Benitez must fear that Gerrard will be out for longer, given his record with the injury over the past year. The same problem kept him out of the Champions' League semi-final tie at Chelsea, and also forced him to miss the final day of the league campaign.

Liverpool have a massive week where their Premier League and Champions' League hopes will be put under scrutiny, with crucial games against Lyon and Manchester United as well as the tricky visit to Sunderland.

And if Gerrard is ruled out of those matches because of England's negligence, then the Reds boss will demand answers to some serious questions.

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