Liverpool eventually secured a 2-0 victory against Sunderland but it came at a price as Philippe Coutinho was taken off on a stretcher with a potentially serious ankle injury. The Brazilian, outstanding in Liverpool’s rise under Jürgen Klopp this season, left Anfield on crutches and will undergo a scan to determine the extent of an injury suffered when he was caught accidentally by the Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong.
Coutinho immediately signalled to the bench and was in obvious distress as he was carried off with his right leg in a protective brace. Klopp said the pain had reduced by half-time – Coutinho was injured 15 minutes earlier – but it will represent a major setback to the Liverpool manager and his team’s Premier League challenge should his most creative player be out for an extended spell.
Liverpool have seven matches remaining this year and were already without the injured Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge against Sunderland, who Klopp claimed were the most defensive team he has ever encountered. Sturridge was absent with a calf problem and, though Lallana could return from a groin injury at Bournemouth next weekend, Roberto Firmino also suffered an injury against David Moyes’s side when he took a kick to a calf.
Klopp said of Coutinho: “Unfortunately I don’t know [the extent of the injury]. We will have to wait for a scan. What we know it is something with the ankle but that’s it. He was in pain but the pain got better. In the first moment it was very painful but at half-time he said it felt better. I have no idea what it is. I am quite an optimistic guy so I hope he can train tomorrow.”
Klopp was involved in several run-ins with the Sunderland bench during Liverpool’s sixth win in seven home games, including one after Firmino was injured late on. “He is much better than Phil but he has pain in his calf,” added the Liverpool manager.