Liverpool won their game against Sunderland by two goals on Saturday thanks to goals from James Milner and Divock Origi. The win saw them go to the top of the table only for hours though with Chelsea reclaiming the spot later in the evening.
But at the end of the game, there was a bittersweet feeling for the Reds. They had triumphed, but in the process lost their star performer Philippe Coutinho to an injury.
The Brazilian had to be stretchered off the field after picking up what looked like a serious leg injury, as he was caught on the ankle by Sunderland midfielder Didier N’dong. He was replaced by Origi, who made the most of his opportunity, by getting his name on the scoresheet.
The Liverpool No. 10 has been in prime form this season, having already scored five goals and assisted five more. With the Christmas schedule looming large ahead, Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool will be sweating over the fitness of their star man and will be hoping the injury is not too serious.
With a busy run of fixtures coming up, it will be very interesting to see how Klopp chooses to replace his star man.
The German will not look to change the way his team play or the 4-3-3 system that has been so effective for the Reds this season. While everything will remain the same at the back and in the centre of the park, there could be a slight tweak in the front three.
Divock Origi gets a chance
Mane will continue to feature out on the right-flank, but Klopp might look to shift Brazilian Roberto Firmino out on the left and decide to play a traditional striker through the middle. In this scenario, expect Divock Origi to start. The Belgian, who came on to replace Coutinho on Saturday scored his first goal of the season on the night, having featured sparingly so far this season. He has 2 goals in his League Cup appearances, though, and Coutinho’s injury could just prove to be his chance to shine.
The 21-year old will offer a new dimension to the Liverpool attack with his direct and powerful running. But, with his capability to play anywhere across the front three, Liverpool will not lose any of the flexibility up top and will always have the option of switching to use Firmino as the false striker and play Origi out on the left-flank.
Probable Line-Up: Loris Karius (GK), James Milner (LB), Dejan Lovren (CB), Joel Matip (CB), Nathaniel Clyne (RB), Jordan Henderson (CDM), Adam Lallana (CM), Georginio Wijnaldum (CM), Roberto Firmino (LW), Sadio Mane (RW), Divock Origi (ST)
Daniel Sturridge’s chance to resurrect a faltering Liverpool career?
Daniel Sturridge has been relegated to a bit-part role under Klopp. Rumours are strife that the English forward is looking for an exit in the upcoming January transfer window. But the injury to Coutinho might just provide the former Chelsea player a chance to revive his career at Liverpool. He has scored four times for the Reds in Cup fixtures but is yet to open his account in the League.
Sturridge has shown in the past for Liverpool that he can be a lethal force in front of goal and if Klopp somehow manages to reignite the Englishman’s confidence, he could go a long way to help the Reds’ title bid this season. While he is at his best playing through the middle, he can operate on the wings too. So, a forward line of Firmino, Sturridge and Mane might be the way forward for Klopp and Liverpool in Coutinho’s absence.
Probable Line-Up: Loris Karius (GK), James Milner (LB), Dejan Lovren (CB), Joel Matip (CB), Nathaniel Clyne (RB), Jordan Henderson (CDM), Adam Lallana (CM), Georginio Wijnaldum (CM), Roberto Firmino (LW), Sadio Mane (RW), Daniel Sturridge (ST)
Lallana on the wings?
There is a distant outside possibility that Adam Lallana will be used in a more advanced position on the right-wing, a position he has played at before, meaning Emre Can will feature in the midfield alongside Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane moving out to the left-side.
Probable Line-Up: Loris Karius (GK), James Milner (LB), Dejan Lovren (CB), Joel Matip (CB), Nathaniel Clyne (RB), Jordan Henderson (CDM), (CM), Georginio Wijnaldum (CM), Sadio Mane (LW), Adam Lallana (RW), Roberto Firmino (ST)
While the wait continues for an update on the extent of the Brazilian’s injury, Klopp has enough firepower at his disposal to help his team through the busy period ahead. But whatever personnel Klopp decides to go in with, one thing is for sure. Coutinho will be missed.