Coutinho blow a test for Liver­pool: Origi

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Liver­pool’s Divock Origi says his team-mates must step up in the ab­sence of Philippe Coutinho as they pre­pare to face Leeds United in the League Cup quar­ter-fi­nals to­day. The in­flu­en­tial Coutinho sus­tained sus­pected an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age dur­ing Liver­pool’s 2-0 win over Sun­der­land on Satur­day and could now be out un­til next year. Af­ter re­plac­ing Coutinho, Origi scored Liver­pool’s opener and the Bel­gium striker be­lieves there is suf­fi­cient qual­ity in the squad to com­pen­sate for the un­avail­abil­ity of their Brazil­ian tal­is­man.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate with Philippe be­cause ev­ery­one knows how good a per­son he is and I think he was in top form, so I hope it’s not too bad,” Origi told the Liver­pool web­site. “But I’m sure he will come back stronger and I al­ways said that we have a strong group. Ev­ery­body has to help each other. “I’m al­ways ready. I be­lieve I can help the team a lot this year and I be­lieve I have the qual­i­ties to start in this team.” With Adam Lal­lana and Daniel Stur­ridge doubt­ful and Roberto Firmino un­likely to be risked af­ter tak­ing a kick to his calf against Sun­der­land, Origi seems cer­tain to start against Leeds.

Stur­ridge scored twice as Liver­pool, who lost to Manch­ester City in last sea­son’s fi­nal, over­came Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2-1 in the fourth round. Leeds, fifth in the se­cond-tier Cham­pi­onship, over­came Nor­wich City on penal­ties and are the low­est-ranked team left in the com­pe­ti­tion. There could be an up­set on the cards in Tues­day’s other fix­ture, where Premier League strug­glers Hull City en­ter­tain Rafael Ben­itez’s New­cas­tle United, who are fly­ing high at the Cham­pi­onship sum­mit. New­cas­tle saw an eight-game win­ning streak ended by a 1-0 loss at home to Black­burn Rovers af­ter Ben­itez made a raft of changes and he called on his team to raise their game for the trip to the KCOM Sta­dium. “I think we have to take the pos­i­tives. We were so good for so many games and that has to be the way to go for­ward,” said the Spa­niard. “We have to an­a­lyse quickly what we did wrong and be ready for the next game in three days. That is a pos­i­tive thing.”

Manch­ester United will hope to shake them­selves out of their do­mes­tic tor­por on Wed­nes­day when West Ham United re­turn to Old Traf­ford just three days af­ter the sides’ 1-1 Premier League draw there.

United have drawn their last four home league games and have scored just four goals in their last five do­mes­tic fix­tures on their own patch. Speak­ing af­ter the draw with West Ham, in which United man­ager Jose Mour­inho was again sent to the stands, mid­fielder An­der Her­rera ex­pressed dis­be­lief at the team’s cur­rent woes.

“We’re play­ing the right way and do­ing things the right way,” said the newly capped Spain in­ter­na­tional, whose side beat hold­ers City 1-0 in round four, in a Sky Sports in­ter­view. “I think West Ham are a good side and they didn’t get the ball for more than one minute (at a time), so it’s un­be­liev­able that we aren’t win­ning these games.

“It’s the first time in my ca­reer that I’ve felt some­thing like this.” United will be with­out mid­field­ers Paul Pogba and Marouane Fel­laini through sus­pen­sion.

Hav­ing started on the bench against West Ham on Sun­day, Wayne Rooney will hope to re­turn to the start­ing XI as he chases a record­e­qualling 249th United goal.— AFP

AN­FIELD: Liver­pool’s Philippe Coutinho is car­ried off the field on a stretcher af­ter pick­ing up an in­jury dur­ing their English Premier League soc­cer match against Sun­der­land at An­field, Liver­pool, Eng­land. —AP

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