x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Premier League notebook: Liverpool to Wolves

Dirk Kuyt has been ruled out for three to four weeks, while Newcastle's Chris Hughton has insisted that the club can cope without injured Hatem Ben Arfa.

Newcastle United’s Joey Barton, centre, shares a laugh during training yesterday.
Newcastle United’s Joey Barton, centre, shares a laugh during training yesterday.

Liverpool

Dirk Kuyt has been ruled out for three to four weeks after damaging his ankle ligaments playing for Holland on Tuesday. Kuyt was forced off just before the hour mark in the clash with Sweden. Even before he had received his test results the Dutchman had all but written off his chances of facing Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday. He told www.sport-promotion.nl: "The swelling is so bad that we will only know with any certainty in a few days. But I fear the worst. When I tried to move the ankle almost collapsed so he was right to keep me on the sidelines. You know your own body and it does not feel good."

Manchester City

Yaya Toure believes he has adapted well to the Britain weather because he had to deal with the wintery climate of the Ukraine earlier in his career when he played for Metalurh Donetsk. The midfielder, who joined City in the summer from Barcelona told the Daily Mail: "People can talk about the weather, but I'm enjoying being in Manchester. I've been at a lot of clubs, and I know the weather is not so good here. There's not so much sun, but it's OK. Ukraine was a lot colder!" Toure is a doubt for Sunday's trip to Blackpool with a knee injury, and he added: "I want to come back quickly but it might need more time."

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has denied he has been struggling with an ankle problem this season, contradicting comments made last month by Alex Ferguson, his manager. Rooney's form since the Premier League campaign began in August has been well below the standards he set last season, with both Ferguson and Mike Phelan, United's assistant coach putting it down to issues with his ankle. The England striker, though, said he did not know why Ferguson had made the claims. "I've had no ankle problem all season," he said. The 24-year-old has scored only one goal, a penalty against West Ham United, for United so far this season.

Newcastle United

Chris Hughton has insisted that the club can cope without the services of Hatem Ben Arfa.

The 23-year-old French midfielder was signed on loan from Marseille in the summer, but is now facing a spell on the sidelines after his leg was broken in a tackle by Manchester City's Nigel de Jong earlier this month. "It wasn't a question of the creativity we were lacking, he just happens to be a different player who offered us something different," Hughton told The Journal. "But we have others who can provide that. Jonas Gutierrez is a particular type, Peter Lovenkrands is a particular type, too. We still have a lot of quality."

Stoke City

Jon Walters has said that he will dedicate an impending call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad to his mother. Giovanni Trapattoni, the Ireland coach, has hinted Walters will be selected for next month's friendly with Norway. The striker said: "It would mean an awful lot to me to make my family proud, especially my mother," he said. "That is who I am representing in choosing to play for Ireland."

Walters scored his first goal for Stoke against Blackburn Rovers earlier this month, and he will wants to continue that form against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow. "It's important that I keep playing well here if I am going to be called up," he said.

Sunderland

Andy Reid has conceded that he could be forced to leave the club in January if he does not get regular first team football.

The 28-year-old has been hit with calf and Achilles problems during the past nine months, but has now made a full recovery as he looks to break into the starting line-up. But recent games have seen the midfielder being benched owing to the strong form from Steed Malbranque coupled with manager Steve Bruce's preference of playing Lee Cattermole and Jordan Henderson. "Come January when you're in this stage of your contract you can look at other options," Reid told The Journal.

Tottenham Hotspur

Kyle Naughton has been sent out on loan by Harry Redknapp to gain more experience. The 21-year-old right-back has joined Leicester City in the Championship. Leicester are managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson, the former England manager. Naughton had featured only once for Spurs this season, in their Carling Cup loss to Arsenal last month, and with strong competition at White Hart Lane for places it was decided to send him out. He is in the Leicester squad to make his debut against Hull tomorrow. Meanwhile, Spurs will be out for their second league away win of the season at London rivals Fulham tomorrow.

West Bromwich Albion

Roberto Di Matteo insists there are no problems with Paul Scharner over his reaction to being substituted during the clash with Bolton. The midfielder headed straight to the changing room instead of sitting on the bench after being taken off during the 1-1 home draw earlier this month. The West Brom boss said: "I don't want players who are happy not to be playing." Di Matteo believes his team will have more confidence ahead of tomorrow's clash at Manchester United at Old Trafford as a result of their recent 3-2 win at Arsenal. "It probably gives the players a bit more belief in their own ability," the Italian said.

West Ham United

Thomas Hitzlsperger has been ruled out of action for four months because of a thigh injury. The 28-year-old German midfielder has yet to make his Hammers debut after being injured in a pre-season match for his country against Denmark. He was Avram Grant's first recruit when the ex-Portsmouth manager took over at Upton Park in June. Hitzlsperger signed a three-year deal after leaving Lazio on a free transfer. He had harboured hopes of appearing for the London club before the end of October but has suffered a setback and may require surgery.

Wigan Athletic

Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, will not risk Gary Caldwell against Newcastle United tomorrow even though the central defender returned to action for the Scotland national team. Caldwell, who had a hip operation in the summer, played in last Friday's 1-0 defeat by the Czech Republic in a Euro 2012 qualifier. But Martinez is refusing to rush Caldwell back, given the intensity of the Premier League. "There are different demands in the league," he said. "Gary is not far away but I do not want to put him in a position that could see him perhaps being injured."

Wolves

Marcus Hahnemann, the Wolves goalkeeper, has denied he and his teammates are worried by a disappointing start that has left them second from bottom. Ahead of their clash with basement side West Ham at Molineux tomorrow, Hahnemann said the squad were optimistic despite not having won since the opening day of the season. "There are such a good group of guys here and we will know we will get through this. We just need a result to go our way. Everyone is still working really hard and with the players we've got I'm still very confident we're going to be OK," he said.