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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

Liverpool round-up: Klopp demands more; Klavan explains exit; loans for youngsters

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Photo: Getty Images.

Boss Jurgen Klopp has demanded more from Liverpool‘s fringe players

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that he will not tolerate any complaints from unhappy fringe players this season as he relies on them to make their point on the training ground.

“I cannot make people happy, I never could. Whatever happens on 31 August there will be a specific point where it is clear that is the squad for the next four months until January. Who cannot be happy in these four months being part of the squad at Liverpool I cannot help. Everyone who trains on his highest level – because the decision has already been made that they are good enough to play for Liverpool – has a big chance to be an important part of the team, to stay in the team and all these things.”

Klopp won’t pander to any demands from his players.

The German did not hide his feelings having been forced to leave out the likes of Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan last weekend, whilst Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren remain sidelined. Klavan has since left the club, and as the transfer market enters the final stages in other countries it appears more exits could be on the way.

Ragnar Klavan has revealed that two Liverpool players encouraged him to leave

Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan completed a £2 million move to Serie A side Cagliari on Friday just before the transfer deadline arrived in Italy, and he has explained his decision to leave Merseyside.

“I had offers from several teams, including in other countries, but Cagliari really wanted me. Darijo Srna advised me to come here, as I talked to him via Dejan Lovren. Other Liverpool teammates like Alisson, Salah and Lucas Leiva all spoke highly of Serie A.”

Klavan revealed the thoughts behind making the move.

Some fans may have been surprised to see him depart but given that he was entering into the final year of his contract and was unlikely to feature regularly with the likes of Matip, Lovren, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk ahead of him, it makes sense.

Under 23s set for loan deals

The Liverpool Echo report that the final two weeks of the loan transfer window could see several under 23s players depart the club on loan in search of regular game time, joining the likes of Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria who have already headed out on loan.

Many of those to feature for the team against Manchester United under 23s on Friday evening spent time out on loan last season, including Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella who was heavily involved in pre-season and was linked with a move away.

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Liverpool round-up: Grujic bid rejected; interest in Karius; Brewster nears return

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have rejected a bid for Marko Grujic

The transfer window may have closed in England but it remains open until Friday in Italy and reports from the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds have turned down an approach from Serie A side Torino for midfielder Marko Grujic. The deal was reportedly a season long loan with an option to buy worth 10 million euros (£9 million).

The Serbian was heavily involved in pre-season after impressing for Cardiff City on loan last season and was expected to return to Wales after helping them earn promotion but a move collapsed.

Besiktas are considering a move for Loris Karius

Turkish newspaper Aksam claim that Besiktas have emerged as candidates to sign German goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan to provide him with an Anfield escape having lost the number one shirt to Alisson Becker after his Champions League final nightmare in Kiev in May.

Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the goalkeeper remain unclear despite publicly giving him a vote of confidence and a loan deal may be an ideal solution. Much could depend on the Turkish team’s pursuit of other targets, including Arsenal‘s David Ospina.

Rhian Brewster is nearing a return to fitness

It was a major blow to Liverpool’s plans for young striker Rhian Brewster when he picked up a serious ankle ligament injury in January, but under 23s manager Neil Critchley has told Goal that he could return to light training as soon as next month after a summer of rehabilitation.

“I’m sure he’ll be doing a few people’s heads in down at Melwood, chomping at the bit and ready to return! He’ll be quite restless. He’s a young boy who loves playing football and wants to play football, so he’ll hugely frustrated at the moment.”

Liverpool under 23s manager Neil Critchley has backed his striker.

The 18-year-old was training alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rebuild fitness after signing a new deal to commit himself to the Merseyside outfit despite interest from elsewhere.

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Two years after Jurgen Klopp phonecall Liverpool are not missing out on Ben Brereton

Liverpool wanted the young striker, but he is now struggling for football at Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Nash

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When Ben Brereton burst onto the scene at Nottingham Forest it was widely welcomed by Reds fans. The talented teenager had an excellent 2016-17 with Forest and, despite his struggles in front of goal last term, still had another productive season.

It led to plenty of reports of Premier League interest, including from Liverpool.

As reported by The Sun, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was reportedly looking into the signing of Brereton back in the winter of 2017.

The report claimed that after impressing Klopp in an FA Youth Cup game against Liverpool in 2016 the German called Forest academy chief Gary Brazil to ‘personally enquire’ about his services.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool were again linked with him that summer before the talented youngster signed a new contract at the City Ground.

But, fast forward 18 months and Liverpool fans will probably feel they are not missing out.

The striker can no longer find his way into the Forest matchday squad, after the arrivals of Lewis Grabban and Hilal El-Arbi Soudani this summer.

It has even led to Blackburn Rovers trying to sign him on the final day of the transfer window.

Of course, he is still young and has a bright future in the game. But Liverpool will surely feel he is perhaps not at the level needed to make it at Anfield after his recent struggles.

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