Alonso: Luis loss is a big blow
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Xabi Alonso has described the absence of Luis Garcia due to a serious knee injury as a 'major loss' for Liverpool.
The former Barcelona man ruptured his cruciate ligament during Liverpool's 6-3 Carling Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal and will now miss the rest of the season.
As such, The Reds will be without Garcia when they face his former club in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage and compatriot Alonso believes the injury has dealt a severe blow to Rafa Benitez's squad.
However Alonso did reveal that Garcia's operation was a success and that the midfielder is now working hard on his rehabilitation.
"I'm sorry for him, it's a big shame. Of course he has all the support of the club and every one of his team-mates," Alonso told the club's official website.
"I spoke with him before he had his surgery and also after it. Everything has gone really well and now he will be at home in Barcelona for a few days before he can start physiotherapy.
"The moment he knew it was the cruciate ligament he was down but he is a positive guy. He always tries to have a smile on his face and so now already he is really focused on his recovery.
"It's a major loss both for him and for the team."
Garcia will be unable to assist Liverpool in their remaining Premiership games, but in his absence The Reds are hoping to claw their way back into contention - starting with Saturday's showdown with Chelsea.
Right-back Steve Finnan has not given up hope of making a late surge for the title, but the Republic of Ireland international did admit that a feeling of 'what might have been' is consuming the Liverpool camp.
"We've closed well on Chelsea but know we could be much closer, if not level with them," said Finnan.
"However, it does tell us that the title race is not over by a long stretch yet. We have had our most difficult away games already.
"It is difficult not to look at some of our results, such as Blackburn and Middlesbrough away, and wonder just how close to the top two we could have been now."