injury a massive blow
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Xabi Alonso admits Momo Sissoko's latest injury setback
has come as a massive blow to the club - but he insists they
will be able to cope without their influential midfielder.
Sissoko dislocated his shoulder during last night's Carling
Cup victory at Birmingham and faces a lengthy spell on the
With the Mali midfielder a virtual ever present in Rafael
Benitez's first team plans this season, Alonso accepts the
Reds will have to reorganise to compensate for his absence.
"We'll have to wait and see how long he's out, but it
doesn't look very good," said the Spanish midfielder.
"If he's out, it's clear we'll have to change something in
the team. There are times when we've played without him
before and we've still managed to get good results.
"But now we will have to think of a new system and I'm sure
Rafa will do something.
"Stevie and I have played together in the middle a lot.
Sometimes it's worked really well and other times we've had
"We know we need to work together to find the balance which
is important for the team.
"Stevie has massive qualities. He has an ability to get into
the box and we have to make sure he's still able to do that
because that's where he works so well.
"If the team is compact and we work as hard and show the
same form we did last season, I'm sure the identity of the
players in the position isn't important. It will be harder
without Momo, but we can make it work."
compare me to Carra
By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website
Gabriel Paletta has laughed off suggestions he is the
next Jamie Carragher but admitted he can't wait for more
chances to show the Liverpool fans what he can do.
The Argentine centre-back put in another impressive Carling
Cup display against Birmingham alongside Daniel Agger on
"It is nice to know that people see us as the future of the
club," Paletta told LFC Magazine.
"I just want to play as many matches as I can and see how it
goes. I am realistic though, and know that every new young
player has to go through a period of adaptation.
"Daniel Agger went through it and is doing well this season.
I just hope it goes as soon as possible for me.
"Everybody has said that I am like Carragher and Daniel is
more like Hyypia. There are maybe parts of our games that
remind people of those two but it is not for me to compare
myself to a player of Jamie Carragher's quality.
"Perhaps when I play more and people get to see me properly
they will talk about Gabriel Paletta."
The 20-year-old, who arrived from Banfield in the summer,
also revealed the club's senior centre-backs have taken him
under their wing.
He said: "Sami and Jamie have been great in training. They
are always teaching me things about positioning and the
language of defending. For a young, developing player like
myself this is of great importance."
likely to be out until New Year
By Nick Smith - Daily Post
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is facing up to the
prospect of being without Mohamed Sissoko until the New
The influential midfielder dislocated his shoulder at St
Andrews last night, as Liverpool reached the Carling Cup
quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City.
Sissoko fell awkwardly in a challenge with City's Mehdi
Nafti in the 22nd minute of the fourth round tie, and was
stretchered off after receiving five minutes of treatment.
He was kept in hospital overnight to examine the extent of
the damage but Benitez said: "At this stage, it's safe to
say he will be out for a month. It may be more, I hope not a
lot more, but we'll see.
"It could be that we'll have to run until January with the
players we've got, which we are happy with because they are
"But when you lose someone like Momo who plays in every
game, it's a blow."
Benitez also expressed his sympathy for the personal plight
of Sissoko who missed a long spell of last season with a
serious eye injury.
He made his return from that lay-off wearing a protective
mask in Liverpool's 7-0 win in the FA Cup at Birmingham in
The manager added: "He's unlucky with the type of injuries
he has, they are not common.
"We haven't seen a replay of the incident but it seems to be
"It was clear that he couldn't go on because normally he
doesn't like to stay down."
Daniel Agger scored Liverpool's winner as they won away on
English soil for the first time this season.
Craig Bellamy also had a penalty saved by Birmingham
goalkeeper Maik Taylor in an exciting Cup clash.
Benitez said: "It's bad news about Sissoko's injury, but
it's good news that we are in the next round.
"It's clear that we had chances to score more goals and
finish off the game but we didn't concede a goal because of
a great save from Jerzy.
"So for the supporters, it was a good game and it was a
difficult game for us, very very tough."
Bellamy was also guilty of a couple of glaring misses in
open play, but Benitez praised his striker's work rate.
He added: "Craig was working really hard, but he didn't have
the luck with those two or three chances in front of goal.
"He is a striker and so if he keeps working as hard as he is
now, he will score goals.
"It was a good chance for him because it was a penalty and
the goalkeeper was on the ground before he hit it, but at
the end of the day I'm thinking about the next round and I'm
happy because we are through."
Benitez however, is wary of Chelsea and Arsenal also being
in Saturday's draw for the last eight, after both won their
respective ties last night.
Benitez said: "There are a lot of good teams in it, so we'll
see what happens in the draw.
"But I'm pleased we because we got there using different
players who played really well and worked hard."
The draw for the Carling Cup quarterfinals will be made at
Saturday lunchtime live on Sky Sports.
Meanwhile Birmingham manager Steve Bruce said: "We had two
or three good opportunities - you have to take them but Maik
Taylor kept us in it with the penalty save."
Bruce added: "The league is the bread and butter - we've got
a couple of huge games coming up at home now."
helps Reds edge through
Daniel Agger's goal in first-half stoppage time secured
Liverpool's place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals with a
1-0 victory at Birmingham.
Blues had been humiliated 7-0 on the same ground in an FA
Cup tie last season - the lowest point of Steve Bruce's
This tie was a far more competitive affair against a Reds
side who made nine changes from the starting line-up against
Reading at the weekend - although the visitors were worthy
Several Birmingham players appeared to throw in the towel on
that ill-fated March night but the current side showed
plenty of effort and determination.
But Danish international Agger's second goal of the current
campaign was sufficient to earn the Merseysiders a place in
Birmingham occasionally threatened and looked more lively
when Nicklas Bendtner and Gary McSheffrey were brought on up
front for the final half hour.
But Liverpool were by far the better side in the second 45
minutes and Craig Bellamy could have notched a hat-trick -
and saw a penalty saved by Maik Taylor.
The first chance fell to Steve Bruce's side after six
minutes when Cameron Jerome battled for the ball before it
fell invitingly to Julian Gray - but he fired over the bar
when Reds goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek should have at least been
Liverpool threatened for the first time when Mark Gonzalez
exchanged passes with Boudewijn Zenden before unleashing a
fierce drive which flew inches wide of Taylor's goal.
Blues midfielder Mehdi Nafti became the first player to be
yellow-carded a minute later after a challenge in the centre
circle on Zenden.
Liverpool enjoyed a spell of concerted pressure and recalled
striker Robbie Fowler completely miskicked when attempting
to convert a cross from Lee Peltier.
Liverpool were forced into a substitution after 26 minutes
when, after a lengthy delay, Mohamed Sissoko was stretchered
off with what appeared to be a dislocated right shoulder
after he had fallen awkwardly following a challenge by
The visitors were looking more threatening and the
impressive Gonzalez exchanged passes with former Blues
favourite Jermaine Pennant after taking a short corner - and
his powerful cross-shot was deflected just past Taylor's far
Birmingham produced their best chance of the opening half
after 44 minutes when Martin Taylor made a run down the left
flank before sending over a low cross for DJ Campbell to run
onto but he was denied at point blank range by Dudek.
But in the fifth of seven minutes of stoppage time Liverpool
finally went ahead through Agger, who had the space to lash
the ball into the roof of the net from close range after the
hosts had failed to deal with a corner from Pennant.
Liverpool suddenly stepped up a gear at the start of the
second period and began to carve open the Birmingham defence
almost at will.
A cross from Gabriel Paletta picked out Bellamy, whose shot
lobbed up into the hands of Maik Taylor after he had
initially gone down in anticipation of a low effort from the
Maik Taylor then had to scramble across his goal-line to
keep out a fiercely driven effort from Gonzalez at the base
of a post.
The Northern Ireland number one also dealt with a long range
attempt by Zenden as Liverpool started to dominate
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce made a double substitution just
before the hour mark replacing the front duo of Jerome and
Campbell with McSheffrey and Bendtner.
Liverpool had the chance to double their lead after 64
minutes when Jaidi was adjudged to have fouled Gonzalez
after a surging run.
But Maik Taylor kept Birmingham in contention by comfortably
saving Bellamy's penalty low to his left.
Bellamy appeared to miskick with the goal at his mercy from
Zenden's low centre, before Nafti showed his frustration
when being replaced by Fabrice Muamba - heading straight for
the dressing room and kicking an advertising hoarding before
disappearing down the tunnel.
Gray could have taken the game into extra-time when he shot
straight at Dudek from close range, before Bellamy dragged a
low shot across goal.