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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury setback provides Liverpool with a selection headache

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool enjoyed the latest chapters in their storybook of historic European nights at Anfield on Tuesday evening by seeing off AS Roma in a 5-2 first leg victory in their Champions League semi-final, but it wasn’t all positive, particularly for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

One of the few low points came mid-way through the first half as the England international went down in pain after challenging former Manchester City man Aleksander Kolarov.

Speaking after the game, boss Jurgen Klopp is quoted by the club website as telling BT Sport, “it’s probably a really bad injury. If we can say that already before the scan, that’s never good news so that means for us it’s a massive blow, of course.”

“We have still a few very important games to go and the squad doesn’t get bigger in the moment, so we obviously need to be creative in the next few games.”

(Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)The Liverpool Echo reveal that Klopp went into more detail, saying, “It looks like this [his season is over], unfortunately. We don’t know exactly but all the medical department are quite concerned, and that’s without a scan.

“There’s not long left in the season any more. I’m a very positive person and I hope it’s not only a few weeks and it’s not that bad. But it doesn’t look good.”

Now his absence not only poses a hammer blow to morale in the dressing room, despite a fantastic result in the biggest game of the season, but also a major selection headache for Jurgen Klopp.

His options in midfield have been reduced to none, with Emre Can out with a back injury, possibly for the rest of the season, Adam Lallana unlikely to return this campaign after a hamstring issue and even defender Joel Matip, who has filled in as a holding midfielder on occasion, out of action. All that after Philippe Coutinho was sold in January.

It leaves the German with only three fit midfielders in Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum, which may not be a problem for the semi-final second leg next week but does cause problems when Klopp will undoubtedly look to rotate against Stoke in Premier League action.

With fringe options like Marko Grujic, Ojie Evaria, Pedro Chirivella and Allan all out on loan, Klopp really is down to the bare bones.

A change of shape against the Potters looks inevitable to see the Reds line up with only two central midfielders, giving a much needed break to either Henderson or Milner, whilst there may be a chance for the likes of Jordan Williams or Paulo Alves who are yet to make their first team debuts.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Liverpool

£35 million-valued Gianluigi Donnarumma could solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping problem

Josh Kerr

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Gianluigi Donnarumma
Photo: Getty Images

According to reports from Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport, AC Milan have slashed their asking price for highly-rated Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Liverpool are understood to be interested in the 19-year-old keeper and despite the rejuvenated form of Loris Karius, it is a move that will certainly interest Reds supporters.

The teenage goalkeeper is already being labelled as Buffon’s replacement for the Italian national side and, at such a young age, Donnarumma could have up to 20 years at the pinnacle of European football.

AC Milan had been requesting around £61 million for Donnarumma earlier in the year.

However, Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims the San Siro club have significantly reduced that valuation, with the seven-time European Cup winners willing to settle for £35 million.

Milan are in desperate need to raise funds following a disappointing season in Serie A which saw them once again miss out on Champions League places.

(Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images)

Considering his age and the fact he is already one of the highest rated goalkeepers in European football, the asking price comes at a bargain and Liverpool should undoubtedly swoop.

Loris Karius has improved massively since his return to the first team. However, the German goalkeeper still hasn’t managed to fully convince Reds supporters that he is the club’s long-term first choice keeper.

The addition of Donnarumma could also be beneficial for the 24-year-old keeper knowing if he isn’t meeting the required standard, there is one of Europe’s best keepers ready to take his place.

If Liverpool are to match Manchester City next season, they need to ensure their squad is at full strength. Also, Pep Guardiola’s decision to invest in a new goalkeeper last summer paid dividends and was crucial in them walking the league this season.

Reports regarding Donnarumma’s future come at a perfect time and an ideal price for Liverpool. With Roma’s Allison arguably too expensive, and the world-class Gianluigi Buffon at an age which won’t suit the Reds long-term, Donnarumma could be the perfect addition for Jurgen Klopp this summer.

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Liverpool news round-up: Fitness latest; Fekir move planned; midfielder deal imminent

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Photo: Getty Images.

Milner and Can ready for Saturday

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed that midfield duo James Milner and Emre Can will be fit to face Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev.

“Millie was clear [he would be fit] and Emre is a surprise,” Klopp told the club’s official website.

“He told me he would come back, try this and that and then we would talk to people. We thought it would be difficult, but he came back and from the first day it was like, ‘OK, that looks good, how do you feel?’ ‘Very good’ and then the next day ‘very good’ again.

“Now he trains completely normal. He’s a nice option and that’s why he is with us.”

Milner missed the final Premier League game of the season with a muscle strain whilst Can has been out since March with a back problem.

(Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

Summer move planned for Fekir

The Telegraph say that Liverpool are planning to up the ante in their move for Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir after the Champions League final with the club confident of getting a deal done for a fee in the region of £60 million.

The 24-year-old is seen as a natural replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who Jurgen Klopp is yet to replace since he departed for Barcelona in January, and is one of the club’s top targets for the summer transfer window.

Can deal imminent

Whilst a transfer saga surrounding Fekir may only just be beginning, one could be coming to an end for midfielder Emre Can. His contract will come to an end this summer and he is now expected to join Juventus on a free transfer with an announcement looking to be closing in.

Gazzetta dello Sport report that Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta expects the deal to be done “within 10 days” as the 24-year-old waits for Liverpool to close their season against Real Madrid in Kiev.

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Dejan Lovren epitomises Liverpool’s progression since previous Real Madrid meeting

Max Cohen

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Dejan Lovren
Photo: Getty Images

The last time Liverpool played Real Madrid in the Champions League, the approaches of the two clubs could not have been more different.

The clubs played twice in the 2014 group stage, with Los Blancos smashing Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield and winning 1-0 at the Bernabeu.

Dejan Lovren was particularly culpable for the Reds’ first loss at home, as he was torn to shreds by the combination of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Nonetheless, much has changed at Liverpool since those weak performances more than three years ago, with centre-back Dejan Lovren representing the Reds’ progression from continental lightweights to European Cup finalists.

In an interview this week with The Guardian, the Croatian defender claimed that the current Liverpool side is unrecognisable from the team that surrendered to Real Madrid in their 2014/15 Champions League campaign.

“The only thing that is similar is the name, Liverpool,” Lovren told the Guardian. “I am so much more confident in the team now than I was then. I feel the team is ready to battle against every team in the world.”

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

These confident proclamations mark a fitting response from a player who has come a long way since he first arrived at Anfield.

Lovren has come under immense criticism for his performances at Liverpool, lambasted for a lack of pace, propensity for lapses in concentration, and poor decision making.

And even as recently as October, the Croatian was horribly found out during an abysmal first half performance against Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet, Lovren admirably picked himself up from past disappointment and has become an integral piece of Jurgen Klopp’s defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

The 28-year-old has played every single minute of the knockout stages in Liverpool’s Champions League campaign, and will surely play a massive role in stifling Real Madrid’s high-octane attack in Kiev.

Dejan Lovren will be hoping for a far different response from Liverpool than their performance some three years ago, and his personal improvement will determine the Reds’ success on Saturday.

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