With Liverpool hit by a slew of injuries early in the season, much of Brendan Rodgers' pre-Southampton press conference inevitably centred on updating the fitness status of a long list of players who have already missed games or look set to miss out on a few over the coming weeks.
"You can't forecast the injuries and obviously they have been unfortunate," said Rodgers. "Young Coutinho will have to take a bit of time out. But it will open the door for someone else. Martin Skrtel had been out of the team for a long time but retained his commitment to the cause and retained his quality in training every day so that he was ready to come back in."
With Kolo Toure likely ready to go the full ninety after only being fit enough for the bench against Swansea, Mamadou Sakho having gotten his debut out of the way, and Daniel Agger a possibility, it's unlikely Skrtel will start both of Liverpool's next two matches—though the smart money is he'll at least get to play in one of them.
"I said at the beginning of the season: I need every single one of them—not just 11—we need everybody. You just need to continue to be professional, so that when you are asked to come in, you are ready. And if you come in and you get the shirt, you do well.
"So it's unfortunate that we have lost the quality of players we have. Glen Johnson is the type of player who you don't realise what you miss until he's not in the team. But hopefully he won't be out too long—a matter of weeks before he's back."
As for some time fullback Martin Kelly, as with Agger it appears the player is close to returning to first team action—though also as with Agger, the manager isn't willing to commit to his being ready for Saturday.
"He's getting close and he'll be a great one to have back in the team because he's an experienced player," added Rodgers. "He has been around the club for a long time and when he got injured last year he was one of our best players. I'm looking forward to having him back and thankfully it has all gone well so far."
Joe Allen's status similarly remains uncertain, while Aly Cissokho will be out for at least another week or two. Sebastian Coates is unlikely to be ready to play again until the spring.
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