To get the biggest issue out of the way off the top, there's no actual news yet on the injury Lucas picked up against Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday. There are, however, rumours. And, as is the way with rumours of this sort, they're mostly terrible no good very bad ones we'd really rather not give much credence to. Unfortunately, though, given recent developments, it's nearly impossible to simply dismiss as baseless speculation said terrible no good very bad rumours…
* The rumour? Lucas Leiva is set to miss six to nine months, effectively ruling him out for the rest of the season—and that's if his recovery goes well. The reasons not to dismiss it as nothing but panicked, doom and gloom speculation? Mainly that the club has just recalled Jonjo Shelvey from Blackpool. A release on the Blackpool's official site said the following:
The Seasiders were dealt an unfortunate blow ahead of the busy December programme with the news that Liverpool have recalled in-form midfielder Jonjo Shelvey from his loan spell with the club.
The 19-year-old had settled well into life at Bloomfield Road netting six goals in nine appearances and talks were at an advanced stage between the two clubs to extend the player's loan beyond the end of December. However, a knee injury to Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas has meant that the Reds have activated the recall clause and Shelvey returns to Anfield with immediate effect.
Shelvey seems unlikely to be returning to fill Lucas' role, with Jay Spearing most likely to step up in the short term, but with Steven Gerrard already expected out until January at the earliest this signals a sudden need for warm bodies in what in the summer seemed a rather overpacked Liverpool midfield. Considering that if Lucas was only likely to miss a match or two there would be no real need to disrupt the status quo—or to disrupt Jonjo Shelvey's continuing development given the starting, starring role he's played for Blackpool this season—this emergency recall is hard to see as a move that would be made unless Liverpool had indeed lost another midfielder.
* After putting in a second mostly assured and promising performance in the League Cup on Tuesday—albeit one with a few growing pains/useful learning experience moments that luckily didn't effect the outcome of the match—Sebastian Coates has talked about settling in at Liverpool. In particular there's the presence of countryman Luis Suarez, whose initial role in speaking to Coates about his positive experience at the club before the completion of last summer's transfer is widely known. But also helping to ease the transition are Maxi Rodriguez and Lucas Leiva, and with Suarez at times having also spoken of Maxi's role in helping him to adjust to life in England, the Argentinean midfielder seems to be doing more for the club than just scoring goals nearly every time he's on the pitch.
I'm settling in very well. I'm getting used to the city, getting used to the people and getting used to English football. I've had the help of Lucas and Luis and Maxi. That helps me very much.
It is difficult but when I started my career as a footballer I was aware there was a possibility I'd have to move to play football in a different country. You have to adapt and make the best of a situation like this.
For myself and my family, the most difficult thing is the language. We're trying to learn English as quickly as possible so we can improve our quality of life in this country. The other thing is the weather—but I came here to play football, not for the weather.
We can only hope that Maxi has a spare snood lying around to help Coates get through the Christmas season and its corresponding fixture congestion, the sort of pile up of matches that could well see him with his first chance to play in Stoke-like conditions.
* Finally, a bit of fun to help pass the time while we all try not to revert to doom and gloom pronouncements concerning the futility of a top four effort made without Liverpool's likely least replaceable player, as former regular Liverpool Offside commenter and current Paisley Gates co-blogger Nathan (aka. Grubb) pulls out the big guns for an interactive, multimedia, [insert Web 22.214.171.124b buzzword here] edition of his the Comolli Files transfer rumour comic. In any case, that sentence was really getting out of hand there and needed to come to an end. But back on point, if you ever wanted your updates on whether David Villa's likely to revitalise the sangria-related footballer chants industry in Northern England or if Emmanuel Adebayor is set to add another Premier League club's training kit to his ace collection in comic form, then you won't be disappointed. And probably if you never considered whether it was something you wanted you'll enjoy it, too.
We'll let you know if any further news develops as the day moves along, but in the meantime, try not to hurt your liver too badly—he's pretty much blameless in this whole terrible no good very bad situation…