With the news that Christian Benteke will be out for a fortnight with a hamstring problem breaking hours before yesterday’s razor thin victory over Carlisle United in the League Cup, Liverpool were dealt a further blow with midfielder Roberto Firmino and defender Dejan Lovren picking up knocks against the League Two side, though the Anfield outfit remains optimistic that their injuries aren’t too serious.
Landing hard on his spine following an aerial challenge with Cumbrians midfielder Jason Kennedy, the Brazilian soldiered on long enough to see Danny Ings hand the Reds the lead and Derek Asamoah restor parity before being replaced by Divock Origi three minutes before the break. Lovren, on the other hand, was stretchered off the pitch deep into injury time with an oxygen mask on and his leg immobilized after the Croatian took a fall of his own challenging for a corner. Although they remain unconfirmed, early reports are suggesting he may be due for a long spell on the sidelines with a broken ankle.
“I thought we started the game well, passed it well and had a wee bit of rhythm to our play, but I thought then losing Roberto Firmino set us back a touch. Again, there were flashes, but we’re not up to the speed we’re looking at or the passing game we’re striving to perform,” said assistant manager Gary McAllister, taking over post-match media duties from boss Brendan Rodgers. “(Lovren)’s landed awkwardly. It didn’t look too good, as he was stretchered off but fingers crossed I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked,” he continued. “(Firmino), like Dejan, landed badly. It was just a ball he went up for and he’s landed on the base of his spine, just on his lower back. It’s an awkward landing but he seems fine as well.”
Seems fine and are fine are obviously two entirely different things. With Jordan Henderson out for two months and Benteke sidelined for the immediate future, the Reds have taken two steps forward with Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen returning to match fitness only to take four giant steps back with Lovren and Firmino adding to the triage list. More from this after the inevitable bad news comes in…