Initial reports may have had Mamadou Sakho missing a minimum of two weeks with a hamstring injury picked up against Blackburn in the FA Cup replay, but as it turns out the key in those reports was the at least. Ahead of Liverpool’s league match tonight against Newcastle, after all the scans have been done and a final determination by the medical staff, the news is that Sakho is likely to miss a month.
Sakho was never considered a possibility to face Newcastle this week or Aston Villa in the cup on Sunday, but there were hopes he might be back in contention for West Brom or Hull before the end of the month. Instead, he is likely now to miss four further matches—against West Brom and Hull in April as well as QPR and Chelsea at the start of May—before perhaps being available for the final two league games of the 2014-15 season.
It means that if Liverpool are to do the unlikely and make up the gap on struggling Manchester City and the top four, they will be doing it without one of the players who had been key to their second-half turnaround. Fortunately for Liverpool, fellow defender and player of the season candidate Martin Skrtel is set to return from his three-game suspension following tonight, which could set things up for a return to the three-man back line.
For Newcastle, though, it seems likeliest that Brendan Rodgers will stick with the four at the back set up that was seen against Blackburn, with Dejan Lovren partnering Kolo Toure. After a shaky month, Emre Can has appeared in desperate need of a rest of late, and if he is to start it seems more likely it would be in midfield, perhaps in place of the similarly struggling Joe Allen.