LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Martin Kelly of Liverpool lies on the pitch injured during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Martin Kelly To Miss North West Derby, Possibly March

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Martin Kelly To Miss North West Derby, Possibly March

The losses keep piling up for Liverpool, in the wake of their 3-1, Sunday defeat at West Ham United. Not only were the Reds denied three points they would have been expecting, they've also seen two players pick-up injuries. Raul Meireles's knee injury hasn't been given a time line, with manager Kenny Dalglish quoted in the Guardian as attributing that knock to being kicked (presumably not that serious). Martin Kelly, on the other hand, could be out up to a month with a hamstring injury.

That time line may be alarmist, though Dalglish's speculation that recovery will take "a bit longer than a week" seems optimistic. Regardless, the Reds are set to be without their young right wing back for this Sunday's North West Derby against Manchester United.

While Glen Johnson would be the obvious replacement, Dalglish's seeming insistence that the natural right back be a left-sided player begs speculation as to how the Liverpool manager will adjust. There does not appear to be a natural alternative at right wing back, with Jamie Carragher, capable of playing right full back, poorly suited for the wing back's role. If Dalglish continues using three central defenders with two wing backs, Johnson would almost have to start on the right, with Fabio Aurelio becoming the best option on the left.

If, however, Dalglish decides to switch back to a four man back line, Johnson could stay on the left, with Carragher playing on the right. In the middle, Liverpool could still choose from Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Sotiris Krygiakos, and Danny Wilson.

Whether to switch may depend on the duration of the injury. If Dalglish has to come up with a solution for one match, he may elect to move Johnson over, knowing it the change will be a short term one. If Kelly's absence is for longer - upwards of or over a month - Dalglish may need to switch to a system where he has cover at all its positions.

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