Liverpool were handed a huge boost to their torrid few days after they scraped a win over Ajax in the Champions League group stages. Fabinho filled in for the absent Virgil van Dijk and played a huge role in banking their first three points of the European campaign.
However, their win has been soured following images of Sadio Mane icing his knee after coming off the pitch have emerged. Whilst the injury has been described a dead leg, it could potentially become a problem as Liverpool head into their next match against Sheffield United on Saturday.
The Reds have already lost van Dijk to an ACL injury and Alisson is currently still out with shoulder problems. Losing another star player could be detrimental to their reigning title season. Their huge defeat to Aston Villa has already proved that Liverpool do indeed struggle without Mane’s influence.
Should the winger’s knock turn into something more serious, Jurgen Klopp must look to Diogo Jota to step in. Whilst their newest recruit has already opened up his scoring account with the Merseyside outfit, it’s too soon to call upon him to replace a player like Mane for the long-term.
“It is still painful but it’s not a problem,” Klopp said after the Ajax win. “When he doesn’t play, he puts ice on it. That’s it.” However, it wouldn’t be the first time Liverpool were hammered with an unexpected injury crisis.
As it stands, the Reds are also without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Thiago. Jordan Henderson didn’t feature against Ajax either, after the medical team ruled a full 90 minute appearance out, according to James Pearce.
Sheffield United are still currently in the bottom three and will be searching for a much-needed win to haul themselves out of the drop-zone. If Liverpool are forced to bench Mane as a precaution, the Blades could opt to play a heavily defensive game and catch their opposition out on the counter-attack.