Month-long lay-off for Gerrard
The Reds' anger with England coach Fabio Capello has gone up a notch after learning captain Gerrard will be out for up to a month as his exertions for country will now impact on his club. The 30-year-old sustained a grade two hamstring tear in the 2-1 Wembley friendly defeat to France on Wednesday night after playing 25 minutes longer than the hour initially intended. Liverpool are understandably upset as they feel Gerrard was unnecessarily over-played, having being led to believe he would be protected, but accept they are powerless to do anything about it. It was the midfielder's seventh injury on international duty in three years and all the hard work manager Roy Hodgson has done to ease the burden on a key player - like resting him for the Europa League - has been undone by Capello. His treatment by England appears to contrast with that of strikers Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt who, although they went into their respective internationals with slight ankle injuries, were handled differently. "We have a good relationship with the Spanish medical staff," said head of sports medicine and sports science Peter Brukner. "They assessed Fernando and he had a good day or two of treatment over there and didn't train. "They felt he was okay to play 45 minutes (in the 4-0 defeat to Portugal) and he came through that okay and we fully expect him to be fine for the weekend. "Dirk is coming back after a pretty severe ankle injury and after playing three games in a week he was a little bit sore. "We discussed it with Dirk and the Dutch team and agreed it would probably not be a good idea for him to play, so he sat out the Netherlands game (against Turkey)." Gerrard's unavailability could not have come at a worse time with the Reds having struggled in their last two Premier League games, which saw a six-match unbeaten run come to an end at Stoke at the weekend. The fixture list is relatively kind to Liverpool in the run up to new year, with games against West Ham, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Fulham, Blackpool and Wolves. However, Gerrard could miss more than half of those fixtures and with Lucas Leiva suspended for Saturday's visit of the Hammers, currently bottom of the table, central midfield has been significantly weakened. Liverpool's head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess last night appeared to sum up the feeling on Merseyside with an angry outburst on social networking site Twitter. "Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to Steven Gerrard's injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history," he wrote "Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful." No action has been taken against Burgess, although staff have been reminded of their responsibilities regarding social media. The Australian has contacted the Football Association to express regret for the strength of his feelings - but there has been no apology from him or the club. Brukner has taken a more diplomatic view, after describing the injury as "significant". "He's going to be out for a little while, I'm afraid. I'd imagine it could be three to four weeks," he said. "But if you put your hand up to play for your country, you've got to accept how long they want you to play for. "There were obviously circumstances last night which came together to result in Steven playing for a bit longer than we'd hoped, which is disappointing but there's nothing we can do about that now. "We'll move on and work as hard as we can to get him back playing for Liverpool as soon as possible." Although Gerrard's absence is a significant blow there was some good news on the injury front with Torres, Kuyt, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson all been declared fit to face West Ham. Skrtel (knee and ankle) sat out Slovakia's international while Johnson is back in full training after missing the last three matches. "Martin got a knock against Stoke which wasn't too bad but we thought it wasn't a good idea for him to travel and play an international. But all three of these players will be fine for West Ham on Saturday. "Glen is also available for selection. He's been training all week at Melwood and he's ready to play." Joe Cole (hamstring) and Daniel Agger (calf) remain on the sidelines.