The disappointment for Arsenal defender Ashley Cole in having to withdraw from the England squad due to a stress fracture in his foot has brought joy to Liverpool’s left-sided player Stephen Warnock. Warnock has been playing at left-back for Liverpool for most of the season so far, and is now included in the squad for games again Austria and Poland. His chances of getting a game seem limited, but the experience will be worth a great deal to him.
According to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson there’s a possibility of even using Liverpool’s central defender Jamie Carragher as a left-back, a position he played regularly under Gerard Houllier. Eriksson said: "We have a lot of options there: Jamie Carragher is one, Warnock is another, Kieran Richardson is playing left-back for Manchester United at this moment. It is a pity to lose Ashley Cole, probably the best left-back in the world. It so often happens when one full-back is injured the other is as well in Gary Neville and Ashley Cole."
Also looking at a chance of being involved for his country is Liverpool’s Australian winger Harry Kewell. Kewell’s last competitive appearance was in the European Cup final in May, when he was forced to leave the field due to injury. The injury ultimately needed surgery in the summer, and since then he’s only made a brief appearance for the Reds’ reserves. Despite this lack of action though the Australian staff feel they have a right to play him in the friendly this weekend. According to the Socceroo’s assistant coach Graham Arnold, "It would be crazy to start him, but when the game slows down Harry should be on the field."
Rafael Benitez will be hoping that the Australian staff are cautious with the player. If Kewell could come back into contention for the Reds after the internationals, and show anything like the form he’s capable of, Liverpool’s lack of quality out wide could be solved. Although criticised by many Reds fans, Kewell has suffered numerous injuries since arriving at Anfield, but played an important part on the way to the Champions League victory, notably in the game at Anfield against Olympiakos.
Kewell needs to show what he can do for Liverpool before the transfer window opens up again. Liverpool will make a move again to get a work permit for Mark Gonzales, who plays on the left, and Reds Chief Executive Rick Parry has admitted that they’ll be working hard to bring the right-sided winger, Benfica’s Simao Sabrosa to the club in the winter transfer window.
An offer of £12m was rejected in August, as Benfica upped the fee at the last moment. Parry says that they’ve not yet given up on him though: "After we failed to get him we have continued to follow him and monitor his performances and progress. We still need a player like him and we appreciate his qualities."
Xabi Alonso thinks that it’s important for Liverpool to strengthen in January. He says: "We are trying to use all the options we have at the moment, but you can see we need a little more. All we can do is wait until the transfer window opens again in January. Until then we must start winning as soon as possible because we are not in a comfortable position."