Liverpool will hope Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can begin to repay some of their £35m investment after Sadio Mané’s crushing injury blow. The England midfielder has endured a slow start to his Anfield career since his August move from Arsenal but following Mané’s hamstring injury – which will rule him out for around six weeks – he is likely to play a more significant role.
Mané was injured on international duty with Senegal and his absence could not have come at a worse time for Jürgen Klopp with Manchester United visiting Anfield on Saturday. “The winger was substituted 89 minutes into Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday,” a Liverpool statement read. “It has now been confirmed that he picked up an injury during that fixture that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.”
Mané, who scored 13 Premier League goals last season despite missing the whole of January because of the Africa Cup of Nations and the final six weeks of the campaign with a knee injury, has three in four league matches. The injury to Liverpool’s most influential player has come at a particularly bad time with Adam Lallana still struggling to regain fitness after a thigh injury. Lallana has been sent to the Aspetar sports clinic in Qatar as he continues his rehabilitation and is likely to return in mid-November, along with Mané who will miss the two Champions League games against Maribor and trips to Tottenham and West Ham, as well the visit of Huddersfield Town. Liverpool will still hope to have Mané in contention for their key European date in Sevilla on 21 November before they host Chelsea four days later in the Premier League.
Klopp’s side have struggled without Mané, since his move from Southampton, averaging 2.2 Premier League goals with him in the team, compared to 1.6 goals in his absence. Last season, their form fell away dramatically while Mané was at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning just one of their seven games, against League Two Plymouth in an FA Cup replay.
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