Sissoko to sit out rest of season
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Rafa Benitez does not expect Mohamed Sissoko to play again this season.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez does not expect Mohamed Sissoko to play again this season.
Sissoko is currently sidelined with a serious eye injury he picked up in Tuesday's defeat to Benfica.
The powerful midfielder is still waiting to find out the full extent of the problem after going to see a specialist in London about the condition.
It had been feared that Sissoko's career could be under threat with the injury, but Benitez is confident he will be able to return to playing.
However, Benitez is resigned to being without the former Valencia man for the rest of this campaign.
"He is now more confident about the situation, and we must wait a week for him to have rest and then he will see another specialist," said Benitez.
"It is the first time I have seen such a bad eye injury, he needs to rest now. I expect him to play again, but this season will be difficult.
"He is back in Liverpool, he cannot travel so he will stay here for rest. He has heard all the things people have been saying about the injury but for now it is better that he rests and keeps calm.
"He is a big loss, but the most important thing is the health of a player.
"You have players injured, but when it is this serious you must be more concerned about his health first.
"I do not expect Momo to play again this season, maybe we will see him working again within a few months."
In Sissoko's absence Steven Gerrard is expected to revert to his preferred role in central midfield after playing most of the season on the right.
"He (Gerrard) can change matches, and he can do that better from the centre," added Benitez.
"Losing Sissoko means the option for central midfield does involve Gerrard.
"(Xabi) Alonso and (Dietmar) Hamann can play in the middle, but maybe it is time to start using someone else on the right side.
"Momo was working for everyone, a fantastic player with so much energy right across midfield.
"Gerrard is a different type of player but he has more quality and he can change games.
"Luis Garcia, too, can play in three different positions, but if we need to use Gerrard in the middle then Luis can play on the right."
Meanwhile, Liverpool youngster Lee Peltier has signed a new deal at Anfield, which will keep the highly-rated midfielder at the club until 2008.