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Liverpool are preparing to face Aston Villa on Saturday night, but their plans have been dealt a blow after midfielders Emre Can and Joe Allen suffered injuries. 20-year-old Can, who joined the Reds from Bayer Leverkusen this summer in a £10m deal, picked up an ankle injury with the Germany Under-21 side, whilst Allen hurt his knee in Wales' game against Andorra - on the controversial 3G pitch.
"We've got Emre Can back from Germany, who could be out for up to six weeks because of his ankle," manager Brendan Rodgers announced. "We've got Joe Allen back from playing on awful pitch and he has an issue with his knee. We just need to assess that for the weekend. Those are the types of things than can happen in games and it's unfortunate."
The two new casualties add to the concern surrounding striker Daniel Sturridge. The 25-year-old striker has been away on England international duty this week, and whilst the played almost the full game against Norway last week, Rodgers believes he was rushed into training too quickly after the game when he needed more recovery time - which may have led to a 'preventable' thigh injury.
"We’re obviously disappointed because we feel it was an injury which could have been prevented," said a frustrated Rodgers. "He has worked so hard over pre-season and looked very fit and strong in our last game against Tottenham. I think clubs work differently at times to international teams. It’s more the recovery strategy. When we look at our players here we look at them individually in terms of what their needs are."
"Fast players would have a second day recovery while other players can work on that day. When you are that type of player like Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and boys like Danny Welbeck you need to recover them," Rodgers added.
Meanwhile, the transfer window closed last week and Liverpool will have been happy with their moves, which included Croatian international Dejan Lovren arriving from Southampton. His signing meant that Daniel Agger became expendable, and the Dane returned to former club Brondby in a shock deal despite rumoured interest from Arsenal. Last season, there speculation was rife that Agger and Rodgers didn't see eye-to-eye, and he virtually confirmed as such when speaking to the press in Denmark.
"I was available in many matches last year. Me and the coach did not fully agree on some things, and it is he who decides. I could not [do] anything about it," Agger said. "I could only help to win the fights I was in, and we also did almost every time. So I am hoping that I get to play more games this year. I had many minor injuries in the completely wrong times and I must realise that it is very difficult to change the team when it wins. I am not frustrated about that. I am because of the way it happened and how it was handled," he added.