Defensive headache for Benitez

Liverpool boss running out of options at the back

Hyypia: Was always a risk

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Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez may need to bring in defensive cover in January after the news that Sami Hyypia has picked up an ankle injury.

The Finnish international now joins Daniel Agger on the sidelines after the Dane broke his metatarsal back in September.

Benitez had been hoping that Hyypia would provide cover at the back until Agger returned to full fitness but he has now been left desperately short of options at the back.

The Spanish coach could hand inexperienced defender Jack Hobbs a starting role for the first time or he could move Alvaro Arbeloa across from full-back, although even he is currently struggling with the flu.

Benitez admits that the situation is far from ideal, but he is hopeful that Agger will be back in contention in the near future to help resolve the crisis.

Risk

"Sami has an ankle problem, it is a difficult situation," said the manager.

"Arbeloa is out with flu, so we have no real cover. This could now be a real problem.

"Daniel Agger is closer, he has been training this week. We will wait to see how Sami is but we can use Jack or we could push Agger to play, we will wait and see.

"Now you can see the problem and why we have been searching for re-enforcements, we have been playing with a big risk. And Jamie Carragher has four yellow cards so that just makes the problem more worrying.

Rest

"But Agger and Hobbs are both training and Arbeloa will recover from his bout of sickness. All that will be a big boost for us.

"We have tried to protect our centre-backs but it has been a long time playing with this risk.

"We would not have wanted to play Sami for this long in defence. Everyone was thinking that Sami would play some games with both Agger and Carra to give him a rest.

"We have not been able to do that, and now we could have a real problem with his injury."