Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pessimistic about the prognosis of Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren after they limped off during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final victory over Stoke City.
The Reds lost Coutinho 18 minutes into the first leg at the Britannia Stadium, in which Jordon Ibe’s goal gave them a 1-0 advantage, and Lovren followed him off before the end of the first half.
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Both withdrawals were hamstring related – the same problem which has Daniel Sturridge, Martin Skrtel and Divock Origi sidelined – and Klopp suspects that the Stoke casualties have “bad injuries”.
“We had for sure two bad – I think, bad – injuries and that’s why we’re not only lucky tonight,” Klopp is quoted as saying by Sky Sports, who add that Kolo Toure’s substitution was because of cramp.
Klopp indicated that the injuries may force him to buy this month, telling Sky Sports: “I don’t know, but two players go out. You watch British football longer than myself so you know what it means usually.”
The German joked in December that hamstring was “the rubbish word of the year”, according to Sky Sports. He has lost no fewer than 11 players to the injury since taking charge of Liverpool in October.
But Reds legend Graeme Souness is convinced that this is not a coincidence. He thinks that Klopp’s demanding playing style and intense training regime is to blame for Liverpool’s injury crisis.
He told Sky Sports: “After 11 games, the guys who’ve been playing are match-fit. Some people can get there in three or four games, some need eight or nine, but after 11 games, if you’ve been playing regularly, you’re match-fit.
“A new manager comes in and all the chat was about high press further up the field. It’s hard work to do that for 90 minutes. You can do it in bursts. You can do it for an hour, you can do it for 70 minutes, but to do it for 90 minutes is a big demand on your legs.
“I just think they’ve fallen foul of that. It’s not a coincidence, five hamstrings. To have them all at one time, I think they have to look at what they’re doing in training.”
Klopp may blame the hectic Premier League schedule over Christmas or the amount of fixtures in the English game for his growing injury list, but he might want to look closer to home for the real cause.
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