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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool can cope without injured Lucas Leiva

Kenny Dalglish has ruled out a possible return to Liverpool for Alberto Aquilani and insisted there is no pressure to act in the January transfer window as a result of Lucas Leiva's injury.

The Brazil international will miss the rest of the season having ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Tuesday's Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Chelsea. Liverpool and Lucas are now considering whether last season's player of the year should undergo surgery.

The injury comes at a terrible time for player and club, with the 24-year-old in outstanding form and Liverpool now required to maintain their recent momentum without their key defensive midfielder and their captain, Steven Gerrard, who faces several more weeks on the sidelines with an ankle problem.

Dalglish, however, is philosophical about Lucas's injury and claims that, in Jay Spearing, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Jonjo Shelvey, he has the squad to withstand such a loss. Liverpool also have the £20m Italy international Aquilani on loan at Milan for the season but, under the terms of the arrangement, there is no option for an emergency recall. "If you check the rules, you will see he is not in a position to come back," said Dalglish.

As for signing a replacement for Lucas when the transfer window reopens, the Liverpool manager said: "We don't need to make a decision about January at the beginning of December. We have a really strong squad and have to cater for suspensions, injuries, loss of form, fatigue, whatever. That's why you have a strong squad.

"We'd much rather have Lucas fit and well but we don't have that. It's up to us to accommodate that and make sure that we can handle it. That's one of the tests you get at a football club. Someone's always going to be missing. We feel sorry for Lucas but not for ourselves."

Dalglish had condemned the scheduling of Liverpool's trip to Stamford Bridge in the weeks leading up to the game, prophetically claiming there was a risk of serious injury to players who had drawn 1-1 with Manchester City just 48 hours before. But he said: "It was innocuous. Lucas's studs stuck in the ground and resulted in his knee going. I don't think it was as a result of the two games coming quickly. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. He's just unlucky."

Dalglish again refused to put a timeframe on Gerrard's return. "We are delighted with his progress but we don't have any date for him to come back. It will be sooner rather than later, though," he said.

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