Liverpool were dealt a big blow on Saturday before the Arsenal game as right back Glen Johnson was ruled out through illness before kickoff. Johnson has only recently returned from an ankle injury but missed the Arsenal clash due to pain on his face and jaw.
Liverpoolfc.com said, “Shortly before the Barclays Premier League clash kicked off at the Emirates Stadium, the 29-year-old was admitted to hospital after suffering severe pain on the right side of his face and jaw.
Initial scans showed signs of a localised infection – however, the England international was subsequently discharged and returned home on Saturday evening.
The club’s medical staff now expect the Reds’ No.2 to recover in time to be in contention for Liverpool’s next match, at home to Fulham in the Premier League next weekend.”
20-year old Jon Flanagan was called in to replace Johnson and the young right back tried his level best having not featured for the first team this season.
It is never easy for any side to lose a player that close to kickoff as the side would have been working all week in training with Johnson. Glen is a quality right back and his absence was felt on Saturday. Aly Cissokho at left back did not have the best of games and in Liverpool’s 3-5-2 formation, you need both full backs to be on top of their games as they provide the width for the side.
At least Johnson should be available for the visit of Fulham and hopefully Jose Enrique will also be back to fitness as those are our two best full backs.
One thing Johnson’s injury further highlights is the need for quality full backs to be bought into Liverpool in January or the summer. Barcelona’s Martin Montoya continues to be linked with a move to Anfield and hopefully that deal comes through and solves the right back problem.