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Danny Wilson stands in for Liverpool as Jamie Carragher faces surgery
Andy Hunter - 5 years ago

Roy Hodgson will ask the 18-year-old Danny Wilson to deputise for Jamie Carragher against Steaua Bucharest tomorrow after it was confirmed the Liverpool defender faces as long as three months out with a dislocated shoulder.

Carragher suffered the injury towards the end of Liverpool's defeat at Tottenham on Sunday and had hoped to recover through a six-week rest period. However, following a MRI scan on Merseyside today and consultations between Liverpool's medical department and specialists, it was decided the 32-year-old needs an operation that could sideline him until March.

The Liverpool vice-captain said: "I'll be having surgery at the end of the week. The average is about 12 weeks. I'd like to come back before that but I've got to make sure it's right. It will probably be late February or early March when I'm looking to come back."

Dr Peter Brukner, the club's head of sports medicine and sports science, said: "We decided it was the best option because not having the surgery leaves you with a very high risk of the dislocation happening again – probably more than 50%. We weren't prepared to take that risk."

With Daniel Agger not expected to return from a calf injury until just before Christmas, Liverpool now have only two established centre-halves available for a demanding spell – Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Hodgson will therefore turn to Wilson, who has made only one appearance since arriving for an initial £2m from Rangers in the summer – the Carling Cup embarrassment against Northampton Town – for the Europa League tie in Romania.

"Martin Kelly and Danny Wilson will start against Steaua Bucharest and it's a great opportunity for them to stake a claim to be in the first team," said the Liverpool manager, who may recall Daniel Ayala from a loan spell at Hull City. "Not being able to take the points we deserved against Tottenham has kept us in a mid-table position so the next games coming up are going to be very important. I've got to be careful not to risk too many of the players I want out on the field against Aston Villa [on Monday]."

Fernando Torres will be left behind for a game Liverpool need only to draw to qualify for the knockout stage. Hodgson said: "Torres won't travel. I can leave maybe as many as six or seven players who I expect to start against Aston Villa out of the team. It means on paper I'm taking a weakened team, but I believe people like Joe Cole, Ryan Babel, Milan Jovanovic, Wilson, Christian Poulsen and Jonjo Shelvey are more than capable of doing a good job."

Brukner has confirmed Steven Gerrard is on schedule to recover from a hamstring tear in time for the trip to Newcastle United on Saturday week. The Liverpool captain sustained the injury playing for England against France a fortnight ago and, while Monday's home game with Villa is likely to come too soon in his recovery, he is expected to be back in full training next week. "Steven's going well. He's back running, though not back in training," Brukner said. "He's certainly looking good to play the Newcastle game, which has been our target all along. We're hoping he'll be back in training at the start of next week. Everything's gone to plan."

Cole will make his first appearance since 31 October against Steaua. The former Chelsea midfielder had recovered from a hamstring strain before the visit to Tottenham only to suffer a knock in training on the eve of the game. "Joe is in full training and is available for the Europa League game. He'll be travelling to Bucharest," Brukner said. "He just had a minor injury in training on Saturday, which combined with the fact he was coming back after his hamstring problem meant we decided not to risk it. He'll be 100% for Thursday night."

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