With a number of injuries depleting the bodies at Melwood on Friday, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is going to have to look to his squad for fresh recruits when the Reds visit Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The latest news, in the form of stalwart defender Glen Johnson being ruled out for an indefinite period of time, strikes yet another blow to a backline that’s already feeling the pinch. The 29-year old joins fellow first choice fullback Jose Enrique on the treatment table, leaving the Anfield boss scrambling for options. Although the first team regulars will certainly be missing come kick-off tomorrow, Rodgers may be able to call on local pair Jon Flanagan and Martin Kelly to fill in on the flanks – a chance that both of them would relish.
Flanagan, primarily a right-back, filled in admirably for Jose Enrique during the early days of the Spaniards injury lay-off and put a feather in his hat when he scored his first goal for the senior team, smashing home a Luis Suarez cross as the Reds ran out 5-0 winners against Tottenham Hotspur in the middle of December. A injury picked up against Cardiff City stunted the youngsters miraculous run in the team, but he could return to the fold this weekend in place of the faltering Aly Cissokho with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers confirming that he’s returned to full training and is back in contention for a starting spot.
Although Flanagan would prefer the other flank, it could very well be occupied by fellow local boy Martin Kelly as the 23-year old continues his recovery from a debilitating knee injury. The defender has found match time hard to come by since returning to the team, but he put in an assured 90-minutes in the third round of the FA Cup as the Reds ran out 2-0 winners against stubborn League One side Oldham Athletic at the beginning of the month. With the squad stretched to the breaking point, the return of Flanagan and the inclusion of Kelly could be exactly what Rodgers needs to get him through this turbulent period.
Unless, you know, we’re going to dip into the market for someone special…