Coutinho a Reds’ worry
Liverpool victory comes at heavy cost
Liverpool’s hard-fought 2-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland on Saturday came at a potentially heavy cost after Brazilian Philippe Coutinho sustained an ankle injury.
The in-form playmaker fell to the turf in significant discomfort after Sunderland midfielder Didier Ibrahim Ndong caught him as he cleared the ball in the 34th minute.
Coutinho was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Divock Origi, who scored the opening goal in the 75th minute before James Milner’s stoppagetime penalty sealed the win and moved Liverpool top of the table.
“It is an ankle injury but we can’t say any more until we see a scan,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp told reporters. “Pain gets better, in the first moment it was very painful, but already when I saw him at halftime he said it was much better.
“We have to wait,” Klopp added.
“I’m quite an optimistic guy, so I hope he can train tomorrow.”
Coutinho has been one of the key players in Liverpool’s rise up the table having scored five goals and contributed five assists this season. Without his creative ability in the final third, and with Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana also nursing injuries, Liverpool laboured to break down a resilient and physical Sunderland side.
“There’s a lot to analyse,” Klopp said. “This was the most defensive team I ever saw in my life. Sunderland always play a defensive style and that’s OK.
“We forced them to be that. It’s the most difficult thing in world football to come through but we stayed concentrated, worked for the moment and found a way.”
Liverpool dominated possession without finding a way past Sunderland’s stubborn defence, spurning a host of chances until Origi curled in his first league goal of the season in the 75th minute.
Milner wrapped up the points from the penalty spot in the 91st minute, sending Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the wrong way after Sadio Mane was brought down in the box by Didier Ndong.
Liverpool rose to the top of the Premier League before Chelsea, returned to the summit with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
Liverpool’s James Milner celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates