Brendan Rodgers has admitted he does not know if Daniel Agger will be fit for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Southampton, after the defender injured his ribs in a freak gym accident.
Agger was due to start last night’s match against Swansea, but he hurt himself avoiding a falling weight in an effort to prevent it landing on his foot.
With Kolo Toure just returning from a groin injury, the decision was made to start debutant Mamadou Sakho – who had been set to miss out on the match-day squad altogether – to partner Martin Skrtel in the middle for the 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium.
And to add to Rodgers’ concerns, he saw Philippe Coutinho depart in the second half after the attacking midfielder picked up a shoulder injury in a cynical challenge from Swans defender Ashley Williams.
The Brazilian left the stadium with his arm in a sling, and he is due to undergo a scan when he returns to Liverpool later today.
“Philippe will have a wee scan,” admitted Rodgers. “As for Daniel, It’s too early to say whether he will be fit for Saturday. He had a real freak incident in the gym. Just before he was coming out to train, he overstretched trying to prevent a dumbbell falling on his foot.
“He has overstretched and yanked his side. We are waiting to see if that settles down over the next few days. If it doesn’t, we have got ample replacements. That is why we brought in extra players.”
Toure came on in the second half at right-back to replace England Under-21 captain Andre Wisdom, who had picked up a yellow card, while Rodgers also has Skrtel, Sakho and new signing Tiago Ilori to pick from in the heart of his defence.
He will hope though that the injury to Agger is not severe, as the Reds’ vice-captain has been a linchpin in their defence this season, and a prominent reason as to why the Merseyside outfit hadn’t conceded until last night’s match in the Premier League.
Sakho showed signs that he will be a very good signing at Anfield, although fault could be laid at his feet for the opening goal as former Reds' midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was able to dribble the ball past him with consummate ease.
The Frenchman can be forgiven though, having been left out of Paris Saint-Germain’s entire start to their Ligue 1 campaign before securing the transfer deadline day move to Liverpool for £18m – a club-record purchase for a defender.
“Sakho did very well,” said Rodgers, whose side return to the top of the table after Arsenal and Tottenham had briefly overtaken them. “I thought he was excellent and assured. Once he gets used to working with us, he will improve.”
But it was another debutant that shone brightest for Rodgers’ side – alongside the free-scoring Daniel Sturridge – in Victor Moses, who also joined on the final day of the summer window on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea.
Moses was a constant threat in the first half, demonstrating his speed to outpace defenders on a regular occurrence, and his goal to give Liverpool the lead was nothing short of what he deserved.
“I had a feeling (about playing) Victor coming here,” Rodgers explained. “When I was manager here, he always played well against us. He scored here and also scored for Chelsea here. I just had a feeling about him and his goal was very good.
“He is still getting up to speed. These are boys who haven’t played a great deal over pre-season but overall, we had moments that were very good. We had fluency and quality. When Coutinho went off, we probably lost that connection between our midfield and forwards.”
Southampton visit Anfield on Saturday to face Liverpool as the Premier League takes a short break for sides in Europe to get underway, with the Champions League taking centre stage tonight and tomorrow evening, with the Europa League getting underway on Thursday, which includes Swansea as they face the testing away tie to Valencia as their tough start continues.