Liverpool have been dealt a huge injury blow with news that captain Steven Gerrard is set to be out of action for six weeks with a hamstring injury according to the Daily Post.
Gerrard limped off early in the second half of Saturday’s 4-1 win over West Ham and a scan has confirmed the extent of the damage. Brendan Rodgers now faces a big headache with the crucial Christmas period coming up which includes away trips to Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.
There is also a suggestion that Jordan Henderson is also carrying an ankle knock following the West Ham game and he too could be out of the Tottenham game. This leaves Rodgers with only two fit central midfielders in Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva. Liverpool’s depth has already been tested this season with injuries to Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique.
What does Rodgers do now in the absence of Gerrard? There were some fans earlier in the season that were already questioning Gerrard’s ability in the Liverpool side as he has slowed down due to age and is no longer able to make those dynamic box-to-box runs. The Liverpool captain has had to readjust his game and play a much more deeper sitting role and picking his forward runs very wisely. But Gerrard still has much more to offer to the side in terms of his leadership and great passing ability.
Now without him and possibly Henderson for the Spurs game, that would mean Allen and Lucas step in the midfield. Rodgers really has two options: 1) He reverts to a 3-5-2 and plays three centre backs to make up for the lack of options in central midfield whereby he only plays with Allen and Lucas in midfield or 2) He brings in a player like Luis Alberto to take make a midfield three of Lucas, Allen and Alberto.
One thing this shows is that Liverpool have a clear lack of depth in central midfield but with the January transfer window coming up, it could provide a good opportunity for Rodgers to buy a new central midfielder. Liverpool have been linked with Derby County’s Will Hughes but he is really targeted as a player for the future. But if the Reds are to sign him in January he may be asked to come in and do a job straight away following the injury to Captain Fantastic.