Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is facing a three-week lay-off after injuring his hamstring (official website).
The England international was forced off towards the end of the club’s Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp played down the severity of the issue, insisting in his Friday press conference (BBC Sport): “We have heard of different hamstring injuries in the Premier League – Harry Kane for example – but it’s not that bad.”
Henderson is set to miss games against West Ham United, Watford, Chelsea in the FA Cup, and Bournemouth, and there’s a reasonable chance he won’t recover in time for the return leg against Atleti on March 11.
Henderson has been one of Liverpool’s standout performers this season and could be a miss for the Reds.
That said, Klopp’s side have dealt with injury blows extremely well this term, and there is plenty of depth available to the German.
In the wake of the news of Henderson’s injury, fans on social media seem to think one of Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will replace the former Sunderland man.
There isn’t much to separate the pair in terms of ability, so who should get the nod?
TBR’s view – Keita’s time to shine
Klopp really ought to give Keita the chance to impress in Henderson’s absence.
It’s been more than 18 months since he pitched up at Anfield, and the star still has a fair bit to prove.
Injuries haven’t helped his cause, but fans have only really seen glimpses of the Guinean dynamo’s quality.
Klopp can surely afford to ‘gamble’ playing the £120,000-a-week Keita (Spotrac) in the Premier League, given how far ahead the club are of Manchester City.
Not playing him, and calling on Oxlade-Chamberlain or James Milner instead, would be a kick in the teeth for a player who needs to build up some momentum.