Which players are likely to be unavailable when Liverpool take on Manchester United this weekend?…
Liverpool, not for the first time in recent seasons, were left reeling this week by the news that one of their players had sustained a serious injury on international duty.
Senegalese speedster Sadio Mané was the player in question on this occasion and the Reds will be without his influential services for around six weeks due to a hamstring injury.
The former Southampton man’s absence is expected to span nine fixtures in total, many of them seemingly pivotal in determining Liverpool’s credentials home and abroad this term, starting with the small matter of Saturday’s hosting of in-form Manchester United.
Mané’s injury is doubly untimely given the continued unavailability of a potential replacement in the form of Adam Lallana.
Neither Lallana (thigh), nor right-back Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring), have featured this season due to issues picked up in pre-season and that won’t change this weekend with no clear return date yet set for either man.
Mané is likely to be replaced in the front three by Philippe Coutinho with Emre Can returning to the midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Other options open to manager Jürgen Klopp, if he wants to keep Coutinho deeper, are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or moving Roberto Firmino out wide and playing Daniel Sturridge through the middle.
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Like Klopp, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has some big selection decisions to make heading into this game, chiefly in midfield.
There he is without Paul Pogba (hamstring) and Marouane Fellaini (knee), which could result in a recall for Spanish international Ander Herrera.
Elsewhere, Phil Jones (knee) and Michael Carrick (calf) face late fitness tests, while Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (both knee) are longer-term absentees.
Selection wise, barring a rare show of attacking intent in a big game, Mourinho will choose between Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as chief support to Romelu Lukaku, as opposed to fielding both.
Neither team has any players unavailable through suspension.
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