Liverpool’s well-oiled engine seizing up ahead of Man Utd clash
With the old enemy set for a Monday night visit to Anfield in the Premier League, Liverpool could hardly do with a queue of key first-teamers forming outside Melwood’s physio room, but that’s what looks to be happening.
Given Manchester United’s iffy form of late and negative impact the fanfare surrounding Wayne Rooney’s omission by club, and now country brings, Kopites would rightly have been salivating over the timing of this particular derby dust-up.
However, the confidence bred from five straight wins in all competitions can no longer go unchecked with news that not one but two of their central midfield triumvirate are now likely candidates to miss the big match.
Georgio Wijnaldum, the summer signing who has relished his role alongside Adam Lallana in an inventive yet extremely effective pairing ahead of anchorman Jordan Henderson, has fallen victim to a hamstring injury on international duty with Holland.
In light of a groin injury sustained by Lallana at Swansea, Jurgen Klopp’s thinking cap will have to be fetched, as the prospect of an almost complete midfield makeover looms.
Emre Can is the most viable void-filler on paper and Philippe Coutinho could be tucked inside, but should any mishap befall Henderson on his bow as England skipper against Slovenia, a prickly situation enters full-blown disaster territory for Liverpool’s German tactician.
The hosts are still 21/20 for the victory on the day of the Three Lions’ vital qualifier and given the impressive form of the Reds’ armband wearer, escaping the international break unharmed now looks pivotal to those odds remaining strongly tipped in the Merseysiders’ favour.
Injury concerns over defensive personnel are also threatening to disrupt the groove Liverpool have got themselves in when United are faced on Monday Night Football.
Klopp will be left to sweat on the fitness of roving right-back Nathaniel Clyne and first-choice centre-half Dejan Lovren, owing to knee and groin issues respectively.
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