Johnson to see specialist over knee

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Some of the shine was taken off Liverpool's 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday night when it was confirmed yesterday that right-back Glen Johnson suffered a medial knee ligament injury at Villa Park.

A Liverpool spokesman said: "A scan today has revealed a tear in the medial ligament in Glen's right knee. The player will see a specialist tomorrow, after which we should be able to more accurately determine the length of his rehabilitation period."

Johnson was substituted near the end of the victory that reignited Liverpool's challenge for a Champions League place, and he left Villa Park on crutches. His recovery will be closely monitored by England as Johnson, despite doubts about his defensive capabilities, is first-choice right-back in Fabio Capello's side.

Thanks to Fernando Torres's goal deep in second-half injury-time Liverpool strung successive Premier League wins together for the first time since September, having beaten Wolves on Boxing Day. They also moved to within four points of fourth-placed Tottenham, who they play at Anfield on Sunday week.

For Jamie Carragher the festive period marks a potential turning point in what has so far been a disappointing season. "It was a big result," he said. "That brings us a lot closer to Aston Villa. If they had beaten us, it would have been a big points difference so the one game can make a difference.

"We realise what would have happened if we had lost. People would have said we were miles away and that was it for the top four so we have given ourselves a fighting chance. I haven't looked at the table for a while so I am not sure how far or how close we are. When it's not going well, there is no point.

"But, if we can win the next game against Tottenham, that can put us right in the mix. We've had a lot of ups and downs this season and hopefully we can go on a good run now."