Major Liverpool blow as talisman could face lengthy spell on sidelines

By Alex Stevens

Philippe Coutinho could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after being stretchered off during the first half of Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Brazilian playmaker dropped to the turf wincing in pain after being tackled in the Sunderland box by Didier Ndong half an hour into the Anfield showdown.

The Liverpool talisman appeared to be in a lot of pain when pressure was applied to his ankle and he was stretchered off with protective padding around the damaged area.

The early signs was that Coutinho had broken a bone in his foot or ankle, with one possibility that he has suffered a fractured metatarsal.

This could rule the 24-year-old out for up to two months in what would be a shattering blow to Liverpool as they chase their first league title since 1990.

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Jurgen Klopp’s side began the weekend second in the Premier League after taking 27 points from their first 13 matches of the season.

Coutinho has scored six goals and supplied six assists in 15 Liverpool matches this season, with five of his goals and five of the assists coming in the league.

Football Insider verdict

It will be a huge blow to Liverpool’s title challenge if the fans’ worst fears are realised and scans show that Coutinho has broken a bone and will be sidelined for months rather than weeks. The Brazilian player has lit up the Premier League this season with a series of dazzling displays, forming one third of an electrifying front three with countryman Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool have some attacking quality in reserve, particularly in the shape of striker duo Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, but Coutinho is one of the outstanding attacking players in the English top flight and his inventiveness, mobility and ability to create and score goals will be hugely missed during his time on the sidelines.

In other Liverpool team news, Jamie Redknapp has delivered his verdict on the club’s title credentials.