Liverpool's worse fears over midfielder Momo Sissoko were realised this afternoon when it was confirmed that he will be out now for three months. A club spokesman told the official Liverpool website that the Malian player would need an operation.
The spokesman said: "Unfortunately Momo will require surgery which is scheduled to take place next week. It is anticipated he will be out of action for three months."
Momo dislocated his shoulder in the Carling Cup win at Birmingham last night and he will be badly missed by the Reds.
Earlier in the day and before the full extent of Momo's condition was known, Xabi Alonso had spoken of how much his teammate would be missed, but he did vow that the team would manage. Xabi said: "We'll have to wait and see how long he's out, but it doesn't look very good. If he's out, it's clear we'll have to change something in the team. There are times when we've played without him before and we've still managed to get good results, but now we will have to think of a new system and I'm sure Rafa will do something."
This opens up the chance for Steven Gerrard to play in his preferred role, although it may also allow more chances for Bolo Zenden to get some starts for the club in the centre. Xabi admits that he and Gerrard haven't always managed to work as well together as they'd like: "Stevie and I have played together in the middle a lot. Sometimes it's worked really well and other times we've had some problems. We know we need to work together to find the balance which is important for the team. Stevie has massive qualities. He has an ability to get into the box and we have to make sure he's still able to do that because that's where he works so well."
Xabi is hopeful that the players can minimise the impact of Momo's absence: "If the team is compact and we work as hard and show the same form we did last season, I'm sure the identity of the players in the position isn't important. It will be harder without Momo, but we can make it work."