Lucas Leiva is set to spend 4-6 weeks on the sidelines after picking up a freak injury taking a penalty against Manchester United in Liverpool’s Capital One Cup final loss.
The Brazilian missed out on the clash against Manchester City in the Premier League on Wednesday night with what was believed to be a “minor” thigh injury. The injury was picked up during the penalty shoot-out which ultimately see Liverpool miss out on winning Jürgen Klopp a trophy at his first try.
The strange injury will see Liverpool’s only specialist defensive midfielder miss over a month of football just as the games begin to hold a little bit more significance in the run in to the end of the season. He will miss the entire Europa League tie against Manchester United as well as the crunch clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp broke the news in press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Crystal palace. The German seemed quite surprised and upset about the developments over Lucas’ injury.
“Lucas is really unfortunate, a little bit more serious [than thought what was originally believed],” he said.
“I’ve never heard about an injury you can get like this!I don’t know exactly, but five or six weeks out. Not too good.”
Despite this disappointing news Daniel Sturridge and Mamadou Sakho are likely to feature against Palace. It would appear that Sturridge was indeed only suffering from cramp, which ruled him out of taking a penalty, in the Capital One Cup final. Sakho who was forced off the field in the same game after a dreadful clash of heads with Emre Can is said l to be fit enough to find a place on the bench while Sturridge will probably start after training normally on Thursday afternoon.
Despite having a less than ideal return from injury, Sturridge remains the most talented figure in the current Liverpool squad. His presence on the pitch intimidates defenders with the knowledge that he can at any point turn it on and make life incredibly hard for them.
Klopp would do well to consider playing an interchangeable front three of Divock Origi, Sturridge and Roberto Firmino with Coutinho playing in the ‘number 10’ role pulling the strings. The reason it would be wise to include Origi is that he showed against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final that his pace and energy stretch defences and this leaves gaps for Sturridge and Firmino to work their collective magic.
Liverpool need to make use of the momentum from the brilliant 3-0 win at home against Manchester City. David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo put it simply but perfectly as well:”Liverpool’s inconsistency has been supremely consist.” This is the reality. Whenever Liverpool put on an impressive display and grab a decent result it is usually preceded or preceding an abysmal showing. The perfect example of this is losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace and then going out next time and thrashing Manchester City 4-1.
The key to a respectable finish this season is consistency. Crystal Palace have proven in the past that they are somewhat of a bogey side for the Reds and Sunday offers an opportunity for this to be eradicated. Klopp will be looking for the full three points in his search for Champions League qualification. His side sit just 6 points behind fourth placed Manchester City with a game in hand and will look to capitalize on this.