Trent Alexander-Arnold injury 'big blow' to Liverpool ahead of Fulham League Cup clash

England international joins striker Mohamed Salah on Reds' list of absentees

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold has nine assists to his name across all competitions this season. AFP
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Liverpool have suffered an injury setback ahead of their League Cup semi-final clash with Fulham after Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out of action “for a few weeks”.

The England international picked up a knee problem during Liverpool's FA Cup win over Arsenal at the weekend and will now miss Wednesday's last-four first-leg at Anfield.

Alexander-Arnold has been in superb form for the Reds this season, blossoming in a hybrid role that sees him shift from right-back into a midfield playmaker, providing nine assists across all competitions along the way.

“Trent hyperextended his knee during the last game so he has a little tear in the lateral ligament of his knee and he will need time to recover,” said Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders ahead of Wednesday's game.

“He had a scan and he will be out for a few weeks, so let's see after that.

“It is a big blow as he was one of our most important players. Even in bad spells he was the one putting the balls where we needed the difference.

“We will have to find new dynamics without him because he made our game flexible but hopefully it is three weeks.

“He will get some rest and then hopefully he can come back to where he was. Because this guy was decisive in all the games and was the one who created constantly for us from deep and gave the team a high level of flexibility.

“We will really miss him.”

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With 18-goal top-scorer Mohamed Salah now away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Egypt, Liverpool are without the services of two of their key players in a campaign which sees them still going strong on four fronts.

Wataru Endo is also unavailable – with the midfielder playing for Japan at the Asian Cup in Qatar – while Alexander-Arnold joins teammates Dominik Szoboszlai, Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic on the injured list.

Captain Virgil van Dijk is expected to return after missing the Arsenal game due to illness.

The Merseysiders are currently three points clear at the top of the Premier League, playing in the League Cup semi-final, through to the Europa League last-16 and Sunday's win over Arsenal secured their place in the FA Cup fourth round.

Liverpool have a 10-day break after the Fulham game before they are back in action away to Bournemouth in the league on January 21, with the second leg at Fulham coming four days later.

Their January schedule is completed when they take on Norwich City or Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup and Chelsea in the league – with both games taking place at Anfield at the end of the month.

Lijnders, though, is confident that Liverpool have the squad strength to cope with their absent players ahead of what looks set to be a relentless schedule until the end of the season.

“We have many weapons so there is nobody irreplaceable,” said the Dutchman. “Mohamed [Salah] goes away, [Diogo] Jota steps up. If the best players aren't there and you play really well – like the second half against Arsenal – that is a good sign.

“That's what we have always done. We don't rely on one or two, we are missing probably three core players from our leadership group in terms of Robbo [Andy Robertson], Trent and Mohamed. That [Alexander-Arnold's injury] is a blow of course.

“But the squad has a lot of other qualities if you ask me. We have to find different dynamics to become a more complete team. You see with the players you have and try to build round that.

“So we find solutions without Trent as well. But this squad has so much talent and so much power. We always say as long as counterpressing is there everything else is replaceable.”

Updated: January 09, 2024, 3:22 PM