Injuries may force Liverpool to enter January transfer market

Jürgen Klopp struggling for fit central defenders following League Cup win over Stoke

Jürgen Klopp was delighted with Liverpool's 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final first leg victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium but said he may have to enter the transfer market to alleviate an injury crisis that has now affected 11 players, following hamstring pulls suffered by Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren.

“It’s a big shadow over the game for us, the injuries,” said Klopp. “I don’t know how serious and we have to wait for this. Two injuries that’s not good.”

Jordon Ibe, who replaced Coutinho after 18 minutes, scored the winner as half-time neared yet by the close Liverpool's manager was counting the cost of the victory, as Klopp's team ended the game with Lucas Leiva and Kolo Toure in central defence.

The Ivorian also appeared to suffer a hamstring problem, though Klopp stated Toure had informed him this was only cramp.


Liverpool travel to Exeter for Friday night's FA Cup third round tie and Klopp is unsure who he can field in central defence. While Toure may yet be available Mamadou Sakho, who has a knee injury, will not. Joe Gomez is another defender who is unavailable, due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Klopp stated this may force him to add to his squad

“In this moment with no centre backs fit I would say in this situation maybe we should think about that,” the German said. “Two weeks ago we had three centre backs – that’s a good situation. When Liverpool started the season they had five with Joe Gomez and now nil in this moment. We could say: ‘White flag, sorry, no [strong] team for Stoke next week, we play somebody else against Stoke and somebody else against Exeter.’ That’s not possible. So we tried everything, the boys did well, now we have the situation where we have to [go on].”

Six of Klopp's injured players have hamstring problems. In addition to Coutinho and Lovren, Daniel Sturridge, Martin Skrtel, Divok Origi, and Jordan Rossiter are all nursing maladies in the muscle.

The manager appeared to bridle when asked if he would have to look at his training regime. “We don’t train, we only recover so that’s the situation now,” he said. “When should we train? There’s no training. But no problem, really. I am responsible for these things, and if you want to make me responsible for our hamstrings – that’s the next step, I know this. I know this.”

Of the performance Klopp added: “The only thing we can criticise is our finishing again. We had a good structure, played football good, everything was good but we don’t make enough goals.”

Mark Hughes insisted the tie was far from over, with the second leg at Anfield to come on 26 January. "As it is it's just one goal and we're very much in this tie," the Stoke manager said.

(Guardian service)