Liverpool have been rocked by the news that Sadio Mane has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
The 24-year-old has been absolutely crucial to the Reds this season, scoring 13 goals and providing six assists in 27 Premier League appearances.
Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled badly without him during January while he was on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, and now they’ll have to figure out a way to avoid history repeating itself.
It didn’t start well, as after Mane sustained the injury in the Merseyside derby last weekend, he missed the home clash with Bournemouth in midweek as Liverpool were held to a disappointing draw.
In turn, with just six points separating them and fifth-placed Arsenal, who have two games in hand, it could prove to be disastrous for their hopes of making the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
– "Lallana's better. Not an option yet."
– "Henderson on a good way."
– "Sadio needs surgery. His season is over." pic.twitter.com/ipCiBGXUrf
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 7, 2017
Meanwhile, as reported by The Mirror, Klopp also delivered a disappointing update on Philippe Coutinho who had seemingly found some form again.
The Brazilian ace is a major doubt for this weekend’s encounter with Stoke City due to illness, as he hasn’t recovered after being forced off at half-time in the draw with Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
“We will have to see about Coutinho. We will give him all the time. He will be really close,” Klopp told reporters.
If Liverpool are robbed of their top two creative players, it could prove to be a very tricky match with the Potters in a game that they can’t afford to slip up in, while in the longer term it raises real question marks about whether or not they can stay in the top four.