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.