On top of a frustrating afternoon which saw Liverpool drop points in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland, Jürgen Klopp is also having to deal with a rash of new injuries to key players. Daniel Sturridge joined the casualty list after only his second game back from injury and his fourth league start of the season, limping off in the closing moments of the match along with James Milner who was withdrawn with a knock at halftime. They join Jordan Henderson on the phsyio’s table, missing on the day with a heel complaint.
Although Klopp was able to confirm that Henderson’s injury was not to the same heel that has given the 26-year-old issues in the past, he could not provide a concrete timetable for the skipper’s return, “I don’t know exactly. Hopefully it’s not too serious, but the FA Cup [third round tie to Plymouth Argyle] will be difficult.”
It was revealed also that Milner apparently picked up his knock during the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Manchester City at the weekend and was substituted as a precaution:
“It felt like [Milner] got a knock on this calf, but he didn't know exactly,” Klopp said. “So we had to be really careful. That's why we changed him.”
The boss was more hopeful on Sturridge’s recovery, who had come out worse for wear from a challenge by Sunderland defender Papy Djilobodji after opening the scoring with a first half header: [Sturridge’s] got a knock on his right ankle. I don’t think it’s too bad,”
A muted Alberto Moreno should be an able deputy for Milner, while Emre Can will eventually settle into Henderson’s holding midfield in the captain’s absence. But while a Sturridge injury doesn’t spell doom for Liverpool’s hopes as in times past, the thinning attacking corps must be a concern for Klopp with Sadio Mané on his way to the African Cup of Nations, Philippe Coutinho still working his way back to match fitness and not to mention possible future disciplinary action for Roberto Firmino in the aftermath of a January 31 court hearing pertaining to his drunken driving arrest on Christmas Eve.
With the FA Cup kicking off this weekend and the first of a two-legged EFL Cup tie with Southampton scheduled for the following Wednesday, Liverpool fans will hope that these latest layoffs won’t be for long.