Liverpool face Trabzonspor in their Europa League play-off first leg on Thursday but they will do so without the services of Daniel Agger and Javier Mascherano.
Both players picked up injuries in the Reds opening day draw against Arsenal at Anfield. Midfielder Mascherano picked up a calf injury with 10 minutes left in the game and left the field to be replaced by Lucas Leiva, whilst defender Agger sustained a concussion that has left him with no recollection of Sunday’s game, according to Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson.
Agger received the concussion in the second half of a game that had already see Joe Cole’s sending off reduce the Reds to 10 men on the stroke of half time and with all substitutes used, despite Liverpool temporarily having only 9 men, Agger returned to the pitch to help make up the numbers but was very unsure of his bearings.
“Daniel is not doing that well,” said Hodgson. “It is three days after the incident and he is still suffering from the concussion. He has no memory of the game.”
“It was quite a serious concussion he received and we can only hope it will settle down in time for Monday’s match against Manchester City. There was never any question he would be fit for tomorrow.
Despite the player obviously leaving the pitch in a little discomfort at the weekend, the question was raised in regards to Mascherano, whether his omission was entirely injury related or was there an element of protecting his transfer value by ensuring he wasn’t cup tied in the competition. Roy Hodgson was happy to expand on the situation and confirm that injury was all that was keeping the Argentinian out of selection. Liverpool are still yet to receive an official enquiry or offer for the player despite his wishes to play in either La Liga or Serie A, after his family have failed to settle during his time in England.
“He will always be in my plans until the day comes when he leaves the club,” Hodgson said. “For me that will be a long time in the future. If I could get my wish, he would always play.”
While Hodgson hopes that rest will see the missing two fit to take on Manchester City this coming Monday, he will look to new signing Christian Poulsen to challenger Lucas Leiva and Alberto Aquilani for Mascherano’s place in midfield. Fabio Aurelio may get his chance to stake a claim on the left back spot also.