Rodgers puzzled by Enrique injury
Brendan Rodgers has admitted that Liverpool remain mystified by the knee injury that has kept left-back Jose Enrique out of action for more than three months.
The defender was expected to be absent for 10 weeks after having surgery to sort out the problem on Nov. 21.
By that timescale, Enrique should have been fit to return at the end of January, but still does not have a comeback date.
The 27-year-old has been to see a specialist in the United States, and has returned to Merseyside, where Liverpool’s medical team are continuing to assess the injury.
Asked if he had managed to get to the bottom of the problem, Rodgers said: “No, it’s just been ongoing, really. We’ve got the issue of his knee. He’s come back. He’s had a good spell in America. He’s rehabilitating well here.
“There’s no timeline on it. We just need to trust the medical team here. They’re really good, and they’ll advise me when he’s nearly fit.”
Enrique, signed for Liverpool by Kenny Dalglish from Newcastle for five million pounds in August 2011, has been troubled by the injury all season, but managed to play through the opening weeks of the campaign.
He has played just 29 minutes for the club since Oct. 5, and has not figured at all since the 4-0 Premier League win over Fulham on Nov. 9.
Jon Flanagan and Aly Cissokho have been the regular stand-ins at left-back in his absence.
But while Rodgers seeks a solution to Enrique’s injury woes, he could welcome back centre-back Mamadou Sakho for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Southampton.
Sakho has recovered from the hamstring injury suffered during the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Dec. 29.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva is also back in full training, having been out of action since sustaining medial knee ligament damage on Jan. 18, during the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
However, the Brazil international will not be involved at St Mary’s, and is instead set to make his return when Liverpool travel to Manchester United on March 16.
Rodgers said: “We’ve had a couple of players return to training. Young Sakho’s trained this week, which has been great. We’ll see if it’s too early for him this weekend. And obviously Lucas Leiva’s rejoined the group today, which was great.”
Rodgers, meanwhile, has urged fans to support a charity match to be played in April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
The match -- which will take place on April 21 -- will feature a host of former Liverpool stars, including Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Jamie Carragher, John Barnes, Dietmar Hamann, Luis Garcia and Jan Molby.
Proceeds from the match will go to the Hillsborough Family Support Group, which aids families of the victims of the disaster, and to the Liverpool FC Foundation, which helps communities in and around the city.
Rodgers said: “There are going to be a wonderful array of great names from the past and those still working at the club. We’ve got Kenny Dalglish managing one team and Gerard Houllier managing the other, and there will be a lot of great domestic and international stars taking part. It’s going to be a wonderful day and a great occasion.”
Some 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death on an over-crowded section of terracing when attending an FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground on April 15, 1989.
It remains the biggest stadium-related sporting disaster in British history.