Rodgers without a senior striker to call on for the trip to West Ham


Liverpool’s best-laid plans failed to get off the ground due to the cancellation of their chartered flight from Trieste airport on Thursday.

Brendan Rodgers’s side head to West Ham United tomorrow after an extra night’s stay in Udine and without a senior striker to call on.

It is ridiculous a club of Liverpool’s stature, turnover and ambition should have no forwards available for a Premier League game. A consolation for the Liverpool manager is that the by-product of a calamitous end to the last transfer window and Fabio Borini’s ankle injury has affected only one league game so far, thanks to Luis Suarez’s suspension, and there are only five more before Rodgers can spend again. Hence his pragmatic response to Suarez’s fifth booking of the season, for deliberate handball against Southampton last Saturday.

“We knew it was coming at some stage so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” he said.

There is also the concern of Raheem Sterling turning 18 today without agreement on his first senior contract.

In the absence of Suarez, the Liverpool manager’s pool of forwards consists of Daniel Pacheco, Conor Coady, Samed Yesil, Adam Morgan and Jerome Sinclair, not one of whom has a Premier League start or goal to his name this season.

The upshot is an appeal from Rodgers to Fenway Sports Group to spend early in January and an SOS to the midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to adapt to the “false nine” position against West Ham.

Rodgers’s desire to move early in the difficult January transfer market has encouraged Liverpool to line up a deal for Daniel Sturridge, despite the manager’s reluctance to sign the Chelsea striker on a permanent basis when his plans went awry on deadline day. Rodgers dismissed reports of interest in Darren Bent with a brusque “no”. But the need to ease the load on Suarez is pressing.

Steven Gerrard, Agger and Lucas Leiva, who missed the win in Udinese that secured Liverpool’s place in the knockout stage of the Europa League, will be available tomorrow.

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