Liverpool FC have just about run out of central midfielders, with the news that Bolo Zenden has become the latest one to join the growing casualty list at the club. Liverpool had been hoping to keep the news quiet for now ahead of the clash against Portsmouth at Anfield tomorrow night, but the story spread from the Dutch media that Zenden was out of action.
Zenden suffered a knee injury in the win over Manchester City at the weekend, and although he did finish that game this injury is feared serious enough to keep him out for as long as six weeks. This injury is said again to be knee ligament damage, but isn’t thought to be related to the cruciate ligament damaged he suffered a year ago. That injury kept him out for the remainder of that season.
The first-choice central-midfield pairing of Momo Sissoko and Xabi Alonso are already out of action, meaning that Zenden had been lining up in the middle with Gerrard, who’d been moved from his infamous right-midfield position. Momo isn’t going to be available again until the New Year after undergoing shoulder surgery, and Xabi is not expected to be able to figure in either of the next two Liverpool games after sustaining an injury last week in the Champions League.
Rafa is now faced with having to either play someone out of position or to use one of the youngsters in the game tomorrow night against Portsmouth. If it’s a youngster he goes for then it could be Danny Guthrie, but it seems more likely that Rafa will go for big match experience. Jamie Carragher or Daniel Agger could be pushed forward into midfield. A possible candidate for the central role normally might have been John Arne Riise who has played centrally for his country in the past, but he’s just about the only fit left-sided player at the club right now, so he’s not likely to be able to move infield.
One thing highly unlikely to happen is for Rafa to recall Salif Diao from his loan spell at Stoke City. Liverpool are short on numbers, but Salif is not part of any plans of any description for Rafa. The game against Portsmouth is very significant for Liverpool in that they would move above their opponents, currently fourth, if they won.