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where do Liverpool need to strengthen most after spate of injuries?

The Reds lost defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva to a knee injury which will keep him out for two months and their worries have now been compounded.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Glen Johnson has been ruled out "indefinitely" and, after Lucas Leiva's anterior cruciate knee ligament injury the Northern Irishman faces something of a injury crisis.

The Reds could be without, feasibly, their first-choice back four against Bournemouth in tomorrow's FA Cup clash with Johnson the latest defender to sustain injury with Mamadou Sakho struggling with a hamstring problem, Daniel Agger suffering from a calf complaint and the long-term fitness issues with Jose Enrique's knee all providing cause for concern for Rodgers.

Johnson's stock has plummeted in recent months after a series of below-par performances and the news he has been playing through the pain to ease the selection crisis facing Rodgers.

But the injury to Johnson has deepened the injury woes, with the manager telling reporters: “Glen [Johnson] has played a lot of the season having been injured and really put himself out for the team, but unfortunately he’s struggled a lot with a number of injuries.

“He’s had a real bad ankle for a period of time and one or two other issues that just haven’t allowed him to be 100%.

“I think everyone has seen over many years the speed, fluency and how good he’s been, but for part of this season he’s been restricted and that’s obviously been difficult for him.

“I just think it’s now at that point where we need to get him right. The timeline he’ll be out will be indefinitely really. We’ll just need to assess it and see how quickly he comes through that.”

Only 15 senior players trained for the first team this week, with youngsters Brad Smith, Cameron Brannagan and Jordan Rossiter all likely to be involved in the tie at the Goldsands Stadium this weekend.

Despite Jon Flanagan's return from a hamstring injury, Rodgers did not specify whether he wished to strengthen in defensive areas, but remains open to making new signings in the final week of the window.

With Tottenham moving level on points with the Reds as they floundered in a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa last Saturday, there is no longer a margin for error in the keenly-fought race for Champions League football and with Sebastian Coates set to be loaned out to former club Nacional in his native Uruguay, defensive reinforcements must be on the agenda.

The fact Flanagan has filled in all too regularly at left-back for Enrique has spoke volumes about the quality of stand-in Aly Cissokho and also the dearth of top four quality littered throughout the squad.

Full-backs are the primary problem for Liverpool right now but an additional centre-back may be required dependent on the extent of Sakho and Agger's respective injuries.

With midfield acquisitions at the forefront of Rodgers' plan for the window, however, the Reds look set for a busy week ahead of transfer deadline day.

image: © nathan17

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