Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool play down Steven Gerrard row

By Sam Wallace

Liverpool yesterday backed down in their row with England manager Fabio Capello over Steven Gerrard's injury.

The club's new football director Damien Comolli accepted the England manager's explanation that he had no choice but to break an informal agreement limiting the player's involvement in Wednesday's game.

Comolli spoke to Franco Baldini, Capello's general manager, after the match and was told that Capello had to keep Gerrard on the pitch after an ankle injury to Gareth Barry severely curtailed his midfield options.

Gerrard will now miss up to four weeks, Liverpool announced yesterday, after eventually limping off in the 85th minute of France's 2-1 friendly win. Gerrard is understood to be angry that he had to play on in the second half after an agreement limiting him to an hour's participation maximum -- but he was asked by Capello if he would mind playing on in the circumstances and chose to do so.

Darren Burgess, head of fitness and conditioning at Liverpool, whose outburst on Twitter told of the club's anger on Wednesday night has also apologised to the Football Association which he said was "completely amateurish" and "disgraceful".

Burgess has spoken to Capello's head physiotherapist Gary Lewin to apologise.

According to the Capello camp, Comolli understands why Capello was forced to continue with Gerrard and although Liverpool are bitterly disappointed at the injury to their captain they bear none of the malice and anger expressed by Burgess in his original tweets.

Capello said on Wednesday night that he would speak to Roy Hodgson if the Liverpool manager wanted an explanation as why Gerrard was kept on the pitch as long as he was.

Capello said: "When you play, like we did, with a lot of young players and do not have a lot of old players, senior players, with experience you need people like Gerrard on the pitch.”

Belfast Telegraph


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