By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Dejan Lovren became the latest Liverpool muscle injury victim when he limped out of their Premier League clash against Sunderland in the early exchanges.

The match at Anfield was just 11 minutes old when the Croatian centre-back trudged slowly off the pitch with what appeared to be another hamstring injury.

Lovren, who had started the match in the centre of defence alongside Mamadou Sakho, had only just returned to the team last weekend after being sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in the League Cup semi-final first leg clash against Stoke in early January.

Lovren’s injury will raise further question about the injury prevention methods at Liverpool, who have suffered an unprecedented number of soft tissue injuries in recent months.

The centre-back was replaced by Kolo Toure, and, in yet another injury blow to the Merseysiders, Joe Allen became Liverpool’s second enforced substitution on the cusp of half-time when he was withdrawn and replaced by Jordan Ibe.

Liverpool dominated the opening period against Sam Allardyce’s team but could not break the deadlock as the opening period finished goal-less.