Gerrard, Agger could return for Euro clash
Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger could both return for Liverpool's UEFA Europa League game against Sparta Prague on Thursday, according to manager Kenny Dalglish. Influential captain Gerrard missed Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Wigan at Anfield because of a groin injury.
And Denmark defender Agger was also absent from the defence with an abductor problem as Liverpool's hopes of a fifth successive win under Dalglish were dashed. But Dalglish hinted afterwards that both players could be back for the trip to the Czech Republic in midweek. "It's going to be days rather than weeks," said the Liverpool manager when asked about the absence of two players from the Wigan game.
Dalglish will certainly be demanding an improvement from his side's inconsistent efforts against Wigan when they face Sparta in the last 32 first leg tie. They looked on course for a fifth straight win when Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles continued his incredible scoring form with his fifth in six games.
That gave Liverpool a deserved interval lead against a Wigan side which has been involved in a relegation fight for most of the season. But the hosts failed to kick on and Côte d'Ivoire international defender Steve Gohouri scored a second half equaliser. Dalglish insisted Wigan's goal should have been ruled out for offside. And there was no masking the Liverpool's frustration as Luis Suarez was twice denied by the woodwork on his first start since his £22.8m move from Ajax.
"Their goal's offside but these things happen," added Dalglish, who believes some of his players lacked sharpness after playing in midweek for their respective countries. "We're disappointed. It was a hard-fought game but the performance was not as good as it has been in the past.
"It was a game where we started well enough, pushed forward and Raul scored a good goal. Luis hit the post but you could tell they'd been playing Wednesday, a lot of them. There was a little bit of an edge missing and if it had been there, the final pass would have been better. The sharpness was away a little bit."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is urging his players to use the hard-earned point as a platform to push on and beat the drop. "Liverpool's goal came against the run of play and it was a fantastic strike technically," Martinez said. "We had spells of possession in the first half but didn't show that belief you need to hurt a team like Liverpool.
"But the players deserve huge credit. Coming to Anfield at the moment, if you are not at your best, you don't get anything but I thought we defended really well."