Injury to sideline Berger 'for rest of season'

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Liverpool may have lost their Czech midfielder Patrik Berger for the rest of the season after a recurrence of a knee injury. Berger was carried off during the 4-3 defeat at Leeds on Saturday and will this week fly to America to undergo surgery by a leading specialist. Berger is thus denied the chance to play in his homeland on Thursday with Liverpool in their Uefa Cup tie against Slovan Liberec.

Liverpool may have lost their Czech midfielder Patrik Berger for the rest of the season after a recurrence of a knee injury. Berger was carried off during the 4-3 defeat at Leeds on Saturday and will this week fly to America to undergo surgery by a leading specialist. Berger is thus denied the chance to play in his homeland on Thursday with Liverpool in their Uefa Cup tie against Slovan Liberec.

Berger suffered a knee injury in the first game of the season, at home to Bradford. Now it has reoccurred and Liverpool fear that even after surgery in Colorado it could take Berger until the middle of next year to recover fully.

The specialist Richard Stedman has already performed career-saving knee surgery on the Liverpool captain, Jamie Redknapp, this season and the England international is now back in training and hoping to make a comeback in January.

Referring to Berger's injury after Saturday's defeat, the Liverpool manager, Gérard Houllier, said: "Never mind losing the game at Elland Road; we've lost a good player, too."

Across Merseyside, the Everton midfielder Paul Gascoigne is expected to be ruled out for at least the next two weeks after suffering a thigh injury in Sunday's defeat by Aston Villa. The former England international was hurt taking a free-kick in the first half at Goodison Park. Now he could miss the Premiership games against Bradford on Saturday and Arsenal the following week. "I think Paul has torn a thigh muscle - he's certainly damaged it," the Goodison manager, Walter Smith, said. "It should keep him out for the next two weeks, but we'll know more in a day or two."

Uefa, European football's governing body, said yesterday that it will only investigate claims that Milan have been offered cash incentives by Barcelona to beat Leeds in tomorrow's Champions' League game if they are presented with evidence. Reports in the Spanish press yesterday said Barça were offering Milan players £61,500 a man to beat David O'Leary's team - a result which would see the Catalan side through to the second phase.

The claims have been denied by Milan, and although Uefa have no written rules about any such incentives, their spokesman, Mike Lee, said: "It is not appropriate to comment on rumours, but if people have evidence then they should provide us with it and we would then investigate." Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, said: "No director of Barcelona has made a proposition to Milan, its directors or its squad, of a win bonus in the match against Leeds."

However, Milan's Spanish forward Jose Mari said: "I'm one of those people who believe that offering financial incentives to win is not illegal. If Joan Gaspart [the Barcelona president] wants to give us something we willaccept it in good faith."

There seems no end in sight to George Graham's travails at Tottenham. The manager's latest problem is Stephen Carr, who is unhappy at earning less than £4,000 a week. The Republic of Ireland defender, who has more than three years left to run on his contract, will hold talks with Spurs' director of football, David Pleat, on Thursday.

The 24-year-old right-back has been an automatic choice under Graham, and he said yesterday: "I came to this club as a 15-year-old so they got me for nothing. All I'm asking for is financial parity with other first-teamers, but the club seem to feel that as I have another three and a half years on my contract there isn't a problem."

Carr was Tottenham's player of the year last season. With Sol Campbell expected to leave White Hart Lane when his contract expires in the summer, Spurs can ill afford to lose another high-quality defender.

Carr added: "It's just crazy because the more they stick to their guns, the more it seems to me like they don't care whether I'm at the club or not, and if that's the case then why am I in the first team every week?"

Comments