Aurelio calls on team to step up
Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio believes the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher from the team means other players have to take more responsibility.
Gerrard is still at least a week away from recovering from the hamstring injury sustained on England duty last month, while Carragher will be missing for three months having undergone an operation on the left shoulder he dislocated at Tottenham a week ago.
"I think always when you wear a Liverpool shirt you have a responsibility. We just have to concentrate and do our best. It is not just me because I am one of the more experienced players, everyone has this same approach," said Aurelio.
Without their Scouse heartbeat the rest of the squad, many of whom have struggled to settle into the side never mind impose themselves on it, will have to look to themselves.
Too often in the past it has been left to Gerrard in particular - his second-half Europa League hat-trick against Napoli after coming on as a substitute a case in point - to provide the spark.
Jose Reina has assumed the captain's armband in the duo's absence and will wear it tonight for the visit of Aston Villa to Anfield. But there is enough experience within the squad for a number of outfield players to provide inspiration and leadership.
"Hopefully we won't miss them on the pitch and we can show what we can do," said Aurelio, whose 90 minutes in the Europa League draw with Steaua Bucharest on Thursday was his first full game since August 19 because of injury.
Aurelio, who has had plenty of time to watch the first team having been frustrated by injuries again this season, believes things are getting better under manager Roy Hodgson.
"If you look at the games, we have improved a lot since the beginning of the season and the team is playing more football and had a great game against Tottenham (losing 2-1 in injury time a week ago).
"People know each other more and know more what Roy wants us to do on the pitch so we have time to continue this progression. We know we are not at our top level yet but we are going in the right direction."