Coutinho a Reds’ worry

Liver­pool vic­tory comes at heavy cost

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports | International -

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.

/REUTERS

Liver­pool’s James Mil­ner cel­e­brates scor­ing their sec­ond goal with team mates

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