No help coming for Luis Suarez
With a growing shortage of strikers, the need to win matches means Liverpool may not be able to protect Luis Suarez as much as manager Brendan Rodgers would want, the Reds boss said Thursday.
Fabio Borini could be out for up to three months after requiring surgery on a broken foot, leaving Rodgers with Suarez as his only recognized first-team striker.
However, there will be no immediate call to West Ham to inform them he wants to cut short Andy Carroll's loan in January.
Rodgers is looking to manage the situation as best he can, though just one Premier League win and a Europa League defeat to Udinese means he may have to call on Suarez more than he planned.
"I've rested him a couple of times knowing the squad we have and the games we have, looking to prioritise, but like most footballers he wants to play every minute of every game," said the Northern Irishman. "It is something I need to assess. The most important thing is winning games -- that is what we need to do and in order to do that as often as we can I need the best players on the field."
The Reds boss said he has not even thought about recalling Carroll. The England international's departure to Upton Park was supposed to signal the arrival of Fulham's Clint Dempsey late on August's transfer deadline day but the deal fell through.
But ending Carroll's loan early "isn't something I have considered, to be honest," Rodgers said. "Andy has obviously gone out to get games. We have people watching when he plays and they report back on how he is doing. But with Fabio's injury just coming up we will assess it from there."
The mistakes made in the August transfer window always had the potential to return to haunt Rodgers.
Necessity has seen the likes of teenagers Raheem Sterling and Suso, set to sign a new, improved deal before the weekend, get their chance to impress in the first team.
"The reality is it has happened so we have to deal with it. I'm not going to cry over it," said Rodgers over his lack of options up front. It leaves us a bit short, there's no getting away from that, but it's what we've got so we'll just crack on. If anything else happens it will provide an opportunity for another player."
German youth international Samed Yesil could be promoted, having made his debut as a substitute in the Capital One Cup last month, but Rodgers said throwing in youngsters was not always the best option.
"We have other players that we may be able to have some flexibility within the team," he said. "It is great for me to see the young players: Adam Morgan scored a couple of excellent goals for the reserves and Samed Yesil is a goalscorer. It is just a case of weighing up whether they come in or not. Not every young player can play: this is an unforgiving league and my job is to nurture the talent and not destroy it."
Despite being away on international duty, Suarez had to endure more diving criticism from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce this week, leaving Rodgers unimpressed.
"It is constant for the guy. People jump on the bandwagon and I am sure they will continue to do so," he said. "I've had the chance to work with Luis every day and see what type of character he is. He's had a lot of bad press recently. here won't be too many players involved in as many incidents as him in the box.
"I understand the South American and European players' mentality in trying to win a penalty with skill. It was interesting to note in the last game against Stoke that we are happy in this country for someone to clearly stamp on a player's chest and all we talk about is him diving in the box, which I find incredible."
Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina's hamstring injury was deemed "nothing overly serious" after the 30-year-old suffered the problem on international duty.
"He had a scan this morning and we just need to weigh up the risk in the next 24-48 hours," said the Reds boss.