Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is 'hopeful' that defender Daniel Agger could be available for Saturday's match against Southampton and revealed that Martin Kelly has moved a step closer to full fitness.

The Reds' vice-captain missed the Barclays Premier League fixture at Swansea City earlier this week after suffering a problem by overstretching before training the previous day.

"We'll see how he is in the next 24 hours," the manager told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

"It's too early to say if he'll be ready for the weekend or not. It was just unfortunate it happened the day before the game. We're hopeful he'll be fine by the weekend."

Kelly completed the full match as a Liverpool U21s side featuring several first-team squad members recovered from a two-goal deficit to down Sunderland 5-2 at Anfield on Tuesday evening.

Rodgers was in attendance to see the No.34 continue his comeback from long-term injury and explained why he is eagerly anticipating the defender's return.

The Northern Irishman said: "In the game the other night, the reserve game, he definitely stepped up a level in terms of his fitness.

"We've played him in a couple of games at centre-half; it has been a long time that he's been out and you've just got to nurture him back. We felt that was the game to push him on.

"He has been excellent in training - he is very focused on his fitness and sharpness. In the game the other night he was excellent.

"So he's getting close and he'll be a great one to have back in the team because he's an experienced player. He has been around the club for a long time and when he got injured last year he was one of our best players.

"I'm looking forward to having him back and thankfully it has all gone well so far."


Another player in the treatment room is playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who required an operation on the shoulder injury he suffered against the Swans on Monday.

Journalists at Melwood quizzed Rodgers on the length of time the Brazilian is likely to be on the sidelines.

"He's only just having it today so the timescale from the medics is obviously up to six weeks," he said.

"We wouldn't anticipate any sooner than that. It's unfortunate for him because he's been in great form since he came here in January.

"Hopefully we'll get him back sooner rather than later and then he can come into the group again.

"It was one where it was more the fall than the challenge. The challenge was probably a bit clumsy but it was actually more the fall that did the damage.

"In those scenarios the bone may be bruised but unfortunately for Philippe the bone came through the muscle. That's what the pain was and why the operation was needed.

"It's unfortunate because he was a really pivotal player for us in the game. When he went, we lost that connection between our midfield and the front line; it disrupted our balance a bit.

"These things happen in football. Hopefully he'll recover quickly and come back to us in good shape.

"We want to have all the best players available here that we possibly can. You want the problem, as the manager, of who to choose and especially how we've started.

"It's unfortunate that we've had a number of injuries that have all happened at the same time. The injury record we've had here has been very good, but these are things that you can't plan for and it's just something we have to deal with."