Liverpool’s right-back Glen Johnson looks to be ruled out for up to ten weeks after he picked up an ankle injury in Liverpool’s win over Manchester United last weekend, in a challenge with Patrice Evra.
With their first choice right-back out of the team, Liverpool do have a couple of options, in Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom just to slot into the role.
Martin Kelly has just come back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines recovering from injury, whilst Brendan Rodgers had made no secret of his desire to start moulding Wisdom into a centre-back.
Though, with Liverpool having recruited heavily in the centre-back area and Rodgers eventually deciding not to send the 20-year-old out on loan so he could cover injuries, that project might be put on hold for a little while yet.
However, for the reasons stated about his loan, he may be the one who is first in line to replace Johnson – though Liverpool’s point of attack might focus towards the left side of the field even more with Jose Enrique as the naturally attacking full-back.
But if Rodgers opted for Kelly, given the nature of his play, one would imagine Liverpool’s style wouldn’t alter so much. Kelly doesn’t possess the pace Johnson has, nor the potency in the final third, but he is still eager to get forward – perhaps more so than Wisdom, not to suggest Wisdom doesn’t get forward that much, just that Kelly does it more readily.
The other aspect is Kelly’s fitness. Having returned to training, ahead of the League Cup match against Notts County, Rodgers said he was still a way off being considered for a starting place.
It seems likely that it would be one of these two just slotting into Johnson’s position, and Liverpool trying to change as little as possible as a result.
The other option could be a complete reconfiguration of the back line. With several central defenders now at the club, there is scope for playing three centre-halves and operating wing-backs, perhaps with Victor Moses on the other wing – or Jordan Henderson given Rodgers’ seems to have faith in him out wide, and he has been prepared to play at right back in the past.
The big worry without Johnson? Probably his defensively, as he has improved significantly since signing for the club four years ago, and Wisdom looks the more solid out of himself and Kelly in that department, not to mention his strength is also a huge asset.
Almost certainly Wisdom may be the man to slot in at the start, but Kelly may well get his chance.
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