LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 31, 2014: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brendan Rodgers’ pre-Aston Villa Press Conference: Injuries & Balotelli ‘incident’

Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media ahead of this Saturday’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa at Anfield on Thursday afternoon at Melwood.

Thanks to LFC Media for the YouTube video above.

On injuries during the international break

Daniel Sturridge could be out for up to three weeks which is disappointing because his injury could have been avoided.

Emre Can could be out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury. Joe Allen has an issue with his knee, both from international duty.

“Sturridge’s injury happened on what should have been a recovery day. So for him to pick up an injury when he did was disappointing.

“I speak regularly with Roy Hodgson, but not this week. He’s probably been lead by the sport science experts. He shouldn’t have trained.

“One recovery doesn’t fit everyone. When Luis Suarez was here, he needed to do extra work. It’s about the individual, and their needs.

“Hopefully we can communicate with international teams more in the future. We’ve lost player who was outstanding against Spurs.”


On the alleged Mario Balotelli “incident”

“The Mario Balotelli ‘incident’ against Wolves was completely made up. It was a good game and Mario simply fell over. That’s it.”


On Saturday’s opponents, Aston Villa

Aston Villa have started well. I’m please for Paul [Lambert], he’s built a young groups of players, developed them, they’ve got better.

“This season we’ll see the faith Lambert has put in his talented young players this season. They always give us a tough game.”


On team news for Saturday’s game

“Martin Skrtel won’t be available this weekend, Glen Johnson’s got a wee way to go. Jon Flanagan’s not in the squad yet.

Adam Lallana has been training for a couple of weeks so is fine to play against Aston Villa.

“Rickie Lambert’s been very good since he’s come in, mostly having an impact from the bench. He showed that for England in midweek.

“If Lambert doesn’t get a start soon, he’ll definitely start against Middlesbrough in the League Cup.”


On the busy fixture schedule ahead

“There will be changes during this busy schedule ahead, but not wholesale changes, we’ve got to keep the balance.”


On how the summer signings are settling in

Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have been excellent at settling in. Adam Lallana will go on to show his qualities.

“It’s unfortunate about Emre Can’s injury – he was just starting to show the power his game has and find his feet.

“I’m delighted with all of the summer signings so far.

“The players at this level are very competitive. If they’re not playing, they know the importance to keep focus as part of the group.”


On Raheem Sterling’s development

“Raheem Sterling needs protection – there’s no doubt about that. He’s a wonderful talent, still a lot of things he needs to learn.

“I expect Sterling to keep progressing. He’s a mature, wonderful young man. We can’t put him on a pedestal, it has to be the team.

“The same goes for England – they must play as a team and not rely on talents like Sterling.”


On speculation linking Liverpool with former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes

“First I’ve heard of Victor Valdes coming to Liverpool.”


On the proposed coach’s timeout/appeal in football

“Football doesn’t need a ‘coach’s decision’ or timeout like basketball.”


How will Liverpool line-up against Aston Villa this weekend, without Can, Allen, Sturridge, Skrtel, Flanagan and Johnson? Let us know your predicted XIs in the comments section below.