Thu, 20 Dec 2012 19:16:00 – Juventus vice-captain Giorgio Chiellini is facing three months on the sidelines after tearing his calf in training.
Bianconeri head coach Antonio Conte had admitted the Serie A leaders were likely to miss the 28-year-old defender's services for the foreseeable future after he pulled up in training, and medical tests have confirmed the Juve boss' suspicions.
A statement on Juventus' official website read: "This morning Giorgio Chiellini underwent an ultrasound scan at Turin's Istituto di Medicina dello Sport medical centre.
"The scan revealed a tear in the defender's right calf. He will begin his rehabilitation programme, defined by the club's medical staff, over the course of the next few days."
Conte's men, who lead Serie A by seven points, face Cagliari on Friday night before a two-week winter break begins.
He told the club's official website: "It's a shame Chiellini's injured, he's a player everyone would like to have, for what he offers both on and off the field of play.
"He's one of our leaders. But I'm convinced he'll come back stronger than before, looking to recover as soon as possible with the help of the club's medical staff."
The forward, who turned 18 earlier this month, is set to agree what is believed to be a five-year deal before the weekend.
Sterling is the brightest of a crop of youngsters emerging from the academy and Rodgers believes building a good base of young - preferably home-grown - players would stand the club in good stead.
"Hopefully it (Sterling's contract) will be concluded within the next 24 hours," said the Reds boss.
"I have said before that there was never a real issue, it was just a matter of timing and we hope that over the next couple of days that can be completed.
"It is important for me to gain that core of young British talent we can go forward with.
"You look at Raheem, at Jonjo Shelvey at 20 who signed a new deal in the summer, and Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson who are only 22.
"It is very important going forward we can secure those signatures and, of course, we are always looking for the best players.
"But it is equally important the young players coming through the system get rewarded but also feel this is the best place for them to develop."
Rodgers insisted he never had any fears Sterling's head would be turned by interest from Manchester City and Chelsea who could have offered him more a lucrative deal than he is to get at Anfield.
Liverpool are keen not to be held to ransom on the salary issue and are wary of paying the youngster too much too soon, but it is believed Sterling's new contract will be incentivised and include a number of performance-related increments.
However, just as important, according to Rodgers, was the youngster's well-being and development.
"We were always calm. I speak a lot with Raheem and his representatives and there has never been any issues from their side," he added.
"It was just making sure that we take care in terms of the financial - but also the football - plan for the player.
"This was about a young player who has rocketed from playing in the youth teams and the reserves into becoming a full England international.
"A lot has happened in his young life and it was just about making sure that there was that protection for him going forward - both in his financial situation and his football plan.
"I have always been confident that this was going to be the best place for him and thankfully the kid is very focused and devoted to Liverpool.
"His representatives know this is the best place for him. Once it gets concluded, he can start to the next part of his development and hopefully he can keep progressing."
Liverpool are edging closer to bringing former reserve team player Thomas Ince back to the club from Blackpool.
Rodgers refused to comment on speculation linking the 20-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in the npower Championship, with a return.
But he did admit they were looking to bolster the ranks of young players familiar with domestic football.
"Our scouting network have been looking high and low for all sorts of talents to come in here," he added.
"At this moment in time there is nothing to speak about.
"If we can get talented young players in - and young British players - that will be fantastic for us.
"Any negotiations take place by the people above me and we'll conclude what we can as early as we can."
A press conference will take place at Elland Road on Friday morning.
The West Yorkshire club announced at the end of last month that GFH Capital's 100 per cent takeover would be completed on December 21, with current owner Ken Bates to stay on as chairman until the end of the season during a transitional period.
GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh, who became a director at Elland Road on November 21, is expected to be joined on the board by three more of the Middle East consortium's representatives.
A new club chairman will be appointed by the new owners at the end of the season when Bates will become club president.
GFH Capital, who first entered into talks with Leeds in May, have already transferred money into the club and will be making further funds available to manager Neil Warnock, who will have the new owners' full support.
Kebe responded to Monday's 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal, a result that leaves them rooted to the foot of the Premier League, by criticising the lack of signings made during the summer under owner Anton Zingarevich.
"We are in big trouble. We should have bought some decent players in the transfer window. We are a good Championship team trying to compete in the Premier League, that's it," Kebe said.
Less than ?5million was spent during the summer and the indication is that McDermott will be given a similar budget to sign the two or three players with top-flight experience that he wants.
McDermott admitted last week that Reading had misjudged their transfer policy since winning last season's Championship and refused to condemn Kebe's comments.
"What it shows is that Jimmy Kebe, like every other player here, cares. He really cares, we all care," McDermott said.
"Jimmy cared last season when he signed a new contract. He wanted the club to get promoted, which we did.
"Jimmy Kebe loves his football, he loves this club, he loves working for us. He's very much part of what we're trying to do here.
"The owner cares, the chairman cares, I care, the fans care, Jimmy Kebe cares. All our players want the club to do well, first and foremost.
"Let's hope a 'good Championship side' can get the points we need to get to wherever we need to get to.
"I'd like to think that we have enough decent players and that we can get the points we need. Time will tell on that.
"The summer's gone and there's nothing we can do to change what happened. All we can do is affect what happens now."
McDermott reiterated that Reading will prioritise sound financial practice over high-risk spending to ensure the club remains free of debt.
But if they fail to strengthen sufficiently next month then the Championship surely beckons with no Premier League club escaping relegation having accumulated only nine points after 17 games.
Discussions over the budget have begun with Zingarevich and director of football Nicky Hammond and McDermott is hopeful there will be transfer activity next month.
"Our current squad could be strong enough to get us out of trouble, we will see in May," he said. "We'll see if we can add players in January - sometimes you add a couple of players and that freshens things up.
"It helps to make the rest of the squad better as well, so that could definitely be a good thing for us.
"I honestly thought the squad in the summer would do okay, but we'll have to find a way of getting results. We can do it, but I've always had that view."
England Under-21 winger Ince left Anfield in the summer of 2011 having made one senior appearance, with Blackpool making a compensation payment of ?250,000.
The 20-year-old son of former England international Paul will command a far higher fee if he returns to Merseyside in January having netted 13 goals in 21 npower Championship games this season.
Ince also netted eight as the Seasiders reached the play-off final last term - where Ince scored during the 2-1 defeat to West Ham.
Speaking ahead of Friday night's home game with Wolves, Appleton confirmed a figure had been discussed between Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and Liverpool but dismissed growing speculation that a deal is close to being finalised.
"As far as I'm aware I think there's been a conversation between Karl and Liverpool regarding an offer but, as far as I'm aware, it's way below the type of money we'd expect for someone of Tom's talent," he told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"Obviously the chairman keeps me informed but I think it was just an initial conversation between himself and Liverpool and there was a figure used but obviously it's way below, like I say."
Ince is battling to overcome a slight hamstring strain in time to face Wolves and Appleton was defiant when asked whether he would play his star man if passed fit.
"Without a shadow of a doubt," he said.
"I wouldn't worry about that. And he'll continue to play as long as we hold his registration. He's quite a down to earth, sensible young lad anyway.
"I think having someone like his dad in his family who's been a professional footballer himself and knows the ups and downs of the game, I'm sure he'll put in a decent performance in."
Appleton added: "I wouldn't say I'm resigned to losing him just yet though. There's still a lot of work to be done before anything like that happens."