Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is resigned to losing Philippe Coutinho for an extended period as the Brazil international prepares for scan on his ankle injury picked up against Sunderland. The 24-year-old was stretchered off during the 2-0 win over the Black Cats at Anfield after a challenge with Didier Ndong. He suspected to have suffered ankle ligament damage.
Coutinho has scored six goals and made six assists this season, but the Reds face being without their star performer for the foreseeable future. The former Inter Milan schemer was pictured on crutches entering Spire Liverpool Hospital in another bleak sign surrounding his fitness.
"Phil's scan is this afternoon and then we will know more," the Liverpool boss told reporters, according to the Liverpool Echo. "The best thing will be if he is not out but that is not really likely so we have to wait for the final scan and we know how long it will be probably and we have to take it like it is."
Roberto Firmino is in contention to recover from a calf injury picked up against Sunderland in time to face Leeds United in the EFL Cup, but the game comes too soon for Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, who are both nursing muscle problems. Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan are long-term injury absentees.
Simon Mignolet will start in goal for Liverpool having played in two of the club's three previous EFL Cup games, against Burton Albion and Tottenham Hotspur, while Divock Origi, Marko Grujic and Ragnar Klavan may all return, having previously featured in the competition.
"Adam is in a good way, he is close to first team training but he is not ready for the game," added Klopp. "Daniel was not at team training for reasons that are the same. Roberto we will have to wait. Yesterday he was still painful so that is something we have to wait for, how he feels today. It is another day for us so I think he will be ok but I'm not sure.
"Joel [Matip] after this period and after an intense game against Sunderland so we have to wait until this afternoon's training, the impression and then we see about the line-up. We need to have a look at the players. We need to listen and figure if the players are ready or not. We can't take risks.
"Can I still make 11 changes? I have no idea because we need to talk to the players and see how they feel. We are not in this rhythm [of playing in midweek]. We cannot take any risks and it is about having the line-up for the right intensity of the game. I don't have to make a decision until tomorrow."