Liverpool’s key trio of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt all limped out of their respective countries’ matches on Saturday.
Gerrard suffered a groin strain and was replaced at half-time in England’s 1-0 defeat in the Ukraine. He has remained with the squad and will be assessed by the England medical team ahead of Wednesday’s match with Belarus.
Torres, who also had a scare in training last week, was replaced after an hour in Spain’s 2-1 win over Armenia. No injury has been confirmed but he appeared to have a foot problem.
And Kuyt was also replaced at half-time in Holland’s meaningless friendly down in Australia – a match manager Rafa Benitez was already unhappy at his two players (Ryan Babel also played) were involved in. Kuyt had reportedly missed training all week due to an ankle injury but Holland coach Bert van Marwijk still started him. To make matters worse, it’s a 24-hour flight back to England for Kuyt.
Last week Benitez said “We tried to talk with the Dutch Federation about Dirk and Ryan having to travel so far but they have the right to call the players up for these games. We tried to find some kind of solution but it was impossible and it is not an ideal situation for them to travel to Australia for a friendly.”
Benitez will now be hoping none of the injuries prove too much of a headache and have the three of them available for next Saturday’s match at Sunderland.
The blessing in disguise regards Gerrard’s injury is that he may now miss Wednesday’s England match and therefore be fresh for the Reds.
On a positive, Daniel Agger completed his first full 90 minutes of the season for Denmark as they sealed World Cup qualification.
Meanwhile, it’s a case of fingers (and toes) crossed in midweek again.