Rodgers on two more injury worries for Liverpool as Balotelli reports rubbished

Brendan Rodgers spoke to reporters ahead of Liverpool's game with Aston Villa this weekend, and revealed Joe Allen and Emre Can picked up injuries whilst playing for their countries.

Liverpool suffered a double injury blow in addition to Daniel Sturridge according to Brendan Rodgers in the form of midfielders Emre Can and Joe Allen.

Can could spend up to six weeks on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury on international duty, whilst Joe Allen has 'an issue' with his knee after playing on a 3G pitch in Wales's win over Andorra, and will be assessed between now and the game with Villa.

The Liverpool boss said Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan are all unavailable for the weekend. Skrtel is expected to return to training on Sunday whilst Flanagan is 'edging closer' to full fitness after picking up a knee injury in pre-season, but Adam Lallana is available.

The injury to Sturridge - which Rodgers confirmed could be for 'two to three weeks' - led to questions over whether Rickie Lambert would get a chance to start up front alongside Mario Balotelli.

The Reds' boss said: "Rickie has been very good since he come in. He's mostly had an impact from the bench.

"At this moment in time Rickie's working very well. If he doesn't get a start, he'll definitely start against Middlesbrough in the [League] cup."

One factor Liverpool will have to deal with this month is a fixture pile up with commitments in the League, the Champions League and the League Cup to contend with.

Rodgers added: "We've planned out the next five games, the teams right up until Everton. You have to allow for injuries. You have to rotate and maintain the consistency in your teams. There will be changes but there's not going to be wholesale changes."

The Liverpool boss also took time to rubbish reports surrounding the behaviour of Mario Balotelli after claims of an altercation with George Saville during a friendly behind closed doors against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Rodgers says the Italian has been 'as good as gold' since he arrived at the club.

"It's obviously a story that is made up, he did nothing wrong. Mario falls over a tackle by George Saville, both of them [go in to] tackle, fall over, George gets up and rubs his head. Next I read it Mario has kicked him in the head."

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