Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Friday March 22 2013
A look at the progress of injured trio Martin Kelly, Fabio Borini and Joe Allen, plus praise for the current staff setup...
The Liverpool medical team have given detailed updates and recovery prognoses for the Anfield club's three most seriously injured stars.
Defender Martin Kelly, who has been absent since rupturing a cruciate knee ligament against Manchester United in September, is described as doing 'very well' in his rehabilitation.
The 22-year-old could in theory play again this season but, as head of performance Glen Driscoll explains, the club are considering delaying his competitive comeback until the summer with an eye on the long-term benefits of such an approach.
"We'll probably look to prioritise getting him back for pre-season 110 per cent fit - 10 per cent fitter, stronger and quicker, more powerful and agile than he was previously," said Driscoll to Liverpoolfc.com on Thursday.
"He'll probably be in a position where it will be tempting to put him into games again this season. But it will show class and quality if we make sure that he's in a very strong position so he can fly next season."
Italian international Fabio Borini, in his first season at Liverpool after a £10.5m move from Roma, is making better than expected progress from a dislocated shoulder which had seemingly ruled him out for the season.
The injury, suffered in a 5-0 win over Swansea City in February, has resulted in Borini spending a second substantial spell on the sidelines after a broken bone in his right foot had robbed the 21-year-old of three months at the turn of the year.
"Borini was outside for the first time today [Thursday], so he's starting that progression - passing balls, running and doing ball work. He's due to be probably another six weeks from this point on," analysed Driscoll.
"The injury he's had is normally eight to 12 weeks. He's quite a quick rehabilitator.
"At the moment, it's looking pretty positive for Fabio that he could be back ahead of schedule and maybe make the end of the season."
Midfielder Joe Allen has undergone a 'successful' operation to fix an ongoing problem that would effectively see his shoulder continually come out of the socket.
The 22-year-old had been battling the problem for a number of months and attempting to play through the pain and concern but earlier this week it was finally decided to undergo surgery.
"It's going to be a relief for Joe that this has now happened for him. It has been quite a long-standing issue. He was repetitively subluxing, so his shoulder was coming out very easily and very often," explained Driscoll.
"It was a procedure that was very important. He should be 12 weeks from now, so he'll be fighting fit for the start of pre-season."
Driscoll, who followed manager Brendan Rodgers from Swansea at the end of the last campaign, also paid tribute to the Welshman for the way he soldiered on despite the issue clearly hampering his performances.
The 39-year-old revealed: "I think he has done amazingly well. Anyone who has ever had repetitive subluxations of shoulders will know there is a lot of apprehension involved.
"I find it difficult to see how that wouldn't have affected Joe. It was getting to the point where he would do a high-five to celebrate a goal and would actually feel a sublux.
"When you know this is happening, it's not just the pain that occurs - it's the apprehension.
"He has done very well to get through this and it's great for him that we can draw a line under this, get him fit and see how he goes next season."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has completely overhauled the coaching, medical and sports science teams since arriving at the club and the developments have received heavy praise from both captain Steven Gerrard and Danish centre-back Daniel Agger.
Both players have had serious injury and fitness problems in the past but this season Gerrard has not missed a minute of Premier League football and, even more surprisingly, Agger has only missed one of the 30 matches played and that was due to suspension.
"For me it's about being fit and I've been the fittest in years," said Agger earlier this week.
"I have not missed a game because of an injury and I think that is the first time in my career. Brendan Rodgers is undoubtedly the reason I have played all the matches without injuries this year and I cannot be anything but pleased."
Gerrard, in line to win his 102 cap for England against San Marino tonight, told the pre-match press conference: "I'm benefiting from my own training schedule. Mine is certainly working at the moment and I'm feeling really good.
"I had a frustrating period with my groins at one stage in which I missed a year's football - but I`m certainly making up for that now."
With only eight games remaining and Liverpool not challenging for any honours it made sense to have Allen's operation now so he can play a full part in pre-season. Similarly, unless they are 100% ready there is little reward in risking either Kelly or Borini in the latter stages of the current campaign. Looking at the appearence record of the previously injury-prone Agger it appears the current setup and specific personalised training plans must be working! Hopefully next season results can start to mirror a lot of the improvements we are seeing in other areas of the club.
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Date:Friday March 22 2013
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