LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez admits he could be forced to make an emergency signing after being hit with a defensive crisis ahead of his side’s crunch Champions League qualifier with Toulouse.
Jamie Carragher is out of today’s third qualifying round return leg at Anfield after suffering a broken rib and collapsed lung at Sunderland on Saturday.
The former England defender, who was seen remonstrating with Benitez at the Stadium of Light in order to get himself subbed because of the problems he faced, faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
In addition, Benitez is also sweating on Finland international Sami Hyypia who suffered a broken nose in the 2-0 win on Wearside.
Benitez, who has allowed young Argentine defender Gabriel Paletta to join Boca Juniors, is now short of defensive options and revealed he is now scouring the market ahead of the transfer deadline later this week. He has already spent nearly £40mil since the end of last season.
“It looked like Sami lost his vision in his left eye while his nose could also be broken,” said Benitez.
“We are thinking about finding more players and maybe we will have to look at this situation again.”
Daniel Agger will start against Toulouse as Liverpool, last season’s runners-up, protect a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
Peter Crouch and Dirk Kuyt are expected to spearhead the attack with club record signing Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin rested.
Voronin scored against Toulouse in the first leg while Torres missed several clear cut chances to score at the weekend.
England striker Crouch was left out of the 16 to face Sunderland while Kuyt came on in the dying stages at the Stadium of Light.
“It’s not important which of the four strikers play, but if we are to win games we have to change the strikers around,” added Benitez.
“With three games every week we have to change things and we will do that. Everybody knows that Voronin is a good player with good movement. Along with Torres he worked hard up front against Sunderland.”
Toulouse, who drew 1-1 with Nice in a French League clash at the weekend, keep the same 18 players on duty for that trip.
They could also welcome back defender Herita Ilunga who was suspended for the first leg.
“We are going to Anfield to qualify,” said skipper Nicolas Dieuze