Premier League leaders Liverpool are facing a testing time.
The Reds are in the midst of a defensive crisis at the moment, with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and now Trent Alexander-Arnold all sidelined, although the former two aren’t too far off their respective returns.
The young right-back was yesterday ruled out of action for around a month after sustaining a knee injury at Brighton on Saturday.
Arnold actually required medical attention during the warm up, but still played a full game against the Seagulls.
But he now faces a spell on the sidelines, which will be frustrating for Jurgen Klopp who has just sanctioned the loan of Nathaniel Clyne to Bournemouth.
The problems are mounting for the Reds, but in another season things might have been a lot worse.
No AFCON a blessing
Thankfully for Liverpool, there is no African Cup of Nations to contend with.
Usually the biennial tournament takes place in January and February, but for the first time ever, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee in July 2017, AFCON 2019 will be contested in June and July instead.
That means that Liverpool won’t be losing Mo Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea), which is a major relief given their injury-hit squad.
Not only does Klopp have a lack of defenders, but Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both sidelined as well.
It’s a situation that could well swing the title in Liverpool’s favour.
If the tournament took place mid-Premier League season as usual, then one would imagine Liverpool might really have struggled to maintain momentum with so many first-team players unavailable.