Liverpool have been dealt a huge blow just days before the visit of arch-rivals Manchester United after Sadio Mane was ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury.
The pacy forward was injured on international duty with Senegal and his absence could not have come at a worse time as manager Jurgen Klopp looks to get their season back on track after an indifferent September.
“The winger was substituted 89 minutes into Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday,” said a Liverpool statement.
“And it has now been confirmed that he picked up an injury during that fixture that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.”
Mane, who scored 13 Premier League goals last season despite missing the whole of January due to the African Nations Cup and the final six weeks of the campaign with a knee injury, has three in four league matches so far.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 10, 2017
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While both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Joshua might be having a tough, competitive month ahead of them, they seemed to be in a relaxing mood when they met each other at the latter’s Sheffield gym.
The Manchester United striker has just returned from the international break and is looking forward to the Premier League game against Liverpool at Anfield this weekend.
But Rashford managed to find time to visit Joshua at his gym, who is himself preparing for his bout against Kubrat Pulev, scheduled for October 28 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The 19-year-old forward shared his picture, alongside Joshua, on Instagram saying: “Nice to see the champ.”
Meanwhile, Joshua too reached out to his followers saying, “We Got Us… #AJBXNG”
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) October 10, 2017
Sunday sees Jurgen Klopp mark his two-year anniversary as Liverpool manager, having replaced Brendan Rodgers on October 8, 2015.
Here’s a look at the German’s first 24 months in charge.
Klopp has opted for evolution rather than revolution, reflected in the fact 15 of the players he has used this season were inherited from Rodgers (not including Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana, who have been injured).
Three of those – Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Clyne (when fit) would make up his first-choice defence.
He has more depth among his goalkeepers than before and has considerably improved the forward line. The departments in between still require some work, however.
Ten major signings have been made during Klopp’s tenure: of those Sadio Mane has been the one stand-out success.
Summer signing Mohamed Salah has shown early signs he could follow suit but fellow new arrivals Andrew Robertson, Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have not really had chance to stake their claims.
Last season’s signings midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and defender Joel Matip have been inconsistent.
A deal, which on paper looks a good one, has been done to bring in highly-rated RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita next summer but it is probably the signing Klopp could not get done – that of Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk – which has been the most talked about.
Klopp has blooded a number of youngsters from the club’s academy. Some of it was more out of necessity rather than design as two busy Januarys meant he had to dip into the reserves for cup competitions.
It was not without merit, however, as it gave chances to the likes of Ben Woodburn – who became the club’s youngest scorer with a goal in the League Cup and has gone on to become a senior Wales international aged just 17 – Sheyi Ojo, Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Of those the latter is currently enjoying an extended run in the first team to cover Clyne’s injury.
The high-tempo, aggressive pressing and pacy counter-attacks synonymous with Klopp took a while to implement, but the tactics were at their most effective 12 months ago when Liverpool blitzed teams on their way to briefly topping the Premier League last November.
However, opponents began to work them out in the second half of the campaign, sitting deep to make things difficult, and it posed some testing questions.
Although this season Liverpool have shown flashes of replicating that form, crucially they have not been able to convert chances.
Your September Goal of the Month 🔴 pic.twitter.com/gL683Ll13s
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 6, 2017
Four months after taking over Klopp guided the team to the League Cup final where they were unlucky to lose on penalties to Manchester City.
A thrilling 4-3 home Europa League win over Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund felt like a watershed but despite reaching the final and leading at half-time, a second-half collapse saw them lose 3-1 to Sevilla.
Guiding Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table in early November 2016 was followed by a struggle from January, a month which included a 2-0 aggregate semi-final defeat to Southampton which prevented Klopp reaching back-to-back League Cup finals.
Qualifying for the Champions League for only the second time in eight years saw them achieve their target, even if they did limp over the line.
Keeping Philippe Coutinho out of the hands of Barcelona, and his successful reintegration into the team, was significant – as was the failure to persuade Southampton to part with Van Dijk.
OVERALL GRADE: C
Provided by Press Association Sport