EPL

Jurgen Klopp says Diogo Jota facing ‘months’ out as Liverpool injury woes worsen

By Sports Desk February 20, 2024

Liverpool’s injury crisis continues to deepen with forward Diogo Jota ruled out for “months”, while there is no return date pencilled in for midfielder Curtis Jones or goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Jota and Jones were added to a list which now extends to nine senior players unavailable and is less than ideal with the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea to come on Sunday as the club continues to fight on four fronts.

“We have Diogo with a knee issue ruled out – it will obviously take months,” said manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the midweek visit of Luton.

“Not available are Ali (Alisson), muscle injury – we don’t know how long it takes but it will take some time to come back – and Curtis with a bone/ligament issue is ruled out.

“Then we have the others where we think we will deal with it day by day. Longer term like Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Dom (Dominik Szoboszlai) are on their way back but are not in team training yet so they are not available.”

Other players absent include midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic and centre-back Joel Matip (ACL), while striker Darwin Nunez was replaced at half-time of Saturday’s win at Brentford as a precaution.

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  • Chris Wilder accepts imminent relegation as Sheffield United fall to Burnley Chris Wilder accepts imminent relegation as Sheffield United fall to Burnley

    Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admitted his side’s Premier League season was over after a 4-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Burnley.

    Burnley struck twice in the space of two minutes just before the interval through Jacob Bruun Larsen and Lorenz Assignon to snatch control after being second best for most of the first half.

    The Blades threatened a comeback when Gus Hamer reduced the deficit, but further goals from Lyle Foster and substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson maintained Burnley’s late bid for survival.

    The Clarets climbed to within three points of 17th-placed Nottingham Forest, while a 23rd league defeat of the season has left the rock-bottom Blades 10 adrift of safety with five games to play.

    Wilder said: “We all understand the situation. I’m not being defeatist, I’m being a realist. The season really, is gone.

    “We have an obligation to our supporters and an obligation to the league to be as competitive as we possibly can, so we’ll look at that as well.

    “We’ll get it right. We’ll have people who want to be here. People that want to run around and be involved when the going gets tough and want to be part of it when we’re going well.

    “In the meantime, we have to do our best to make this as painless as possible because at the moment pain is going through every part of the football club.”

    Burnley goalkeeper Arijanet Muric made a string of crucial saves in either half, while at the other end the visitors were clinical and Gudmundsson’s effort with 20 minutes left, less than a minute after stepping off the bench, killed the game.

    Wilder added: “I won’t name names, but I think there were a few players out there who wanted to get out of there pretty quickly after the fourth went in, which you just can’t have.

    “I think there were a few who wanted to get out of there pretty quickly and that can’t happen. It’s a powerful league and it’s been too powerful for us all season.”

    Burnley registered just their second win of the year, but have now taken 10 points from their last seven matches and boss Vincent Kompany was delighted his players appear to be holding their nerves.

    The Belgian said: “You get closer to the end (of the season) and this game was important for both teams, so I feel really happy with the result and the performance.

    “The timing of their goal was really bad for us, it’s as bad as you can get. But you’re looking to see if the team is panicking, if there are any signs, but it didn’t feel like this.”

  • Rob Edwards confident Luton can still stay up despite Brentford battering Rob Edwards confident Luton can still stay up despite Brentford battering

    Rob Edwards backed Luton to respond after their Premier League survival hopes were dealt a devastating blow following a painful 5-1 home loss to Brentford.

    The 18th-placed Hatters knew victory would take them out of the relegation zone, but they were undone at Kenilworth Road by a slick attacking display from a Bees side without Ivan Toney due to his ongoing hip issue.

    Thomas Frank watched Brentford run riot with Yoane Wissa scoring twice in the first half before Ethan Pinnock, Keane Lewis-Potter and Kevin Schade netted after the break.

    Luke Berry hit a stoppage-time consolation for Luton, but they remain a point behind Nottingham Forest in 17th and two off Everton ahead of those clubs playing at Goodison Park on Sunday.

    “Yeah, I am deflated and I am hurting right now because of the manner of the performance. I have never really had to come out too many times all year and say that wasn’t us. Today it wasn’t us,” Edwards reflected.

    “How I feel is we’re in this. Today was a bad day for us as a club but the teams directly above us play each other and we will not be out of it this weekend. It’s important we all remember that.

    “What we have to try and harness now is the spirit, quality, fight and intensity we’ve shown that has kept us in and around it this season. We know we have to go and show that with four games to go.”

    A raucous reception greeted both players, but Brentford could have scored three times before Wissa rifled them ahead in the 24th minute with a superb snapshot.

    The brilliant Bryan Mbeumo had set up that chance and created the next for Wissa when his cross was scuffed home by the Bees forward in first-half stoppage-time for his 10th goal of the season.

    While Edwards introduced Berry at the break, the visitors hit Luton with a double sucker-punch when Pinnock powered home a header from a Sergio Reguilon corner after 62 minutes before Lewis-Potter nodded in Mbeumo’s centre two minutes later.

    Brentford substitute Kevin Schade slotted home a fifth after Mbeumo had set Vitaly Janelt away with four minutes left before Berry grabbed an added-time consolation, which was followed by applause at full-time from the Luton fans.

    Edwards added: “I have got to say thank you to the supporters who stuck with us. I apologise to them as well for having to live through that. A difficult day for them. We don’t want to go through that again so we’ve got to respond.

    “The players know there needs to be a response. As I say, we still have an opportunity to be in the Premier League next season and we don’t want to give that up easily. After today I am pretty confident we will respond in the right way.”

    After Brentford moved on to 35 points and 10 above Luton, Brentford boss Frank said: “Of course it was an important game but it was still one of the next five.

    “I also know it would be good to beat Luton because then that little sneaky feeling in the back of the head in this relentless league is more or less out of the question.

    “Five games unbeaten now, we need to continue playing well and doing well to end the season on a high.”

  • Luton’s survival hopes dashed as Brentford run riot at Kenilworth Road Luton’s survival hopes dashed as Brentford run riot at Kenilworth Road

    Luton’s Premier League survival hopes were dealt an enormous blow after they suffered a 5-1 home defeat to Brentford, which virtually guaranteed the visitors of a fourth consecutive season in the top flight.

    The 18th-placed Hatters could have moved out of the relegation zone with a win, but were undone by a slick attacking display from the Bees led by Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo.

    With Ivan Toney not involved due to his ongoing hip issue, Thomas Frank watched his fluid front four run riot at Kenilworth Road with Wissa on target twice in the first half to reach 10 goals for the campaign.

    Ethan Pinnock made the points safe with a third in the 62nd minute before Keane Lewis-Potter claimed a deserved goal two minutes later.

    The brilliant Mbeumo had a hand in Brentford’s fifth when Kevin Schade fired home after 86 minutes and despite a stoppage-time consolation for Luke Berry, the afternoon belonged to Brentford after they moved on to 35 points – 10 above Rob Edwards’ strugglers with four matches left.

    Luton were boosted before kick-off with Gabriel Osho and Albert Sambi Lokonga surprisingly declared fit and a raucous atmosphere greeted the players, but it was the visitors who started the strongest.

    The fit-again Pinnock headed wide before Lewis-Potter squandered a golden opportunity when he fired into the side-netting after being played through by Mikkel Damsgaard.

    While the Hatters responded with Alfie Doughty able to test Mark Flekken, Brentford continued to create chances and Thomas Kaminski produced a fine save to thwart Lewis-Potter’s 19th-minute header after an excellent Sergio Reguilon cross.

    It felt only a matter of time before the Bees’ attacking quartet punished the home team and it duly arrived with 24 minutes played.

    A crucial interception by Kristoffer Ajer found Mbeumo in space and he touched on for Wissa, who rifled beyond Kaminski from 20 yards for a superb opener.

    Luton almost equalised immediately when Jordan Clark played through to Tahith Chong, but he smashed over before they suffered another setback when Issa Kabore went off with an ankle injury.

    Brentford continued to threaten and only a block by Teden Mengi denied Lewis-Potter after a dangerous run before a sumptuous curled effort by Mbeumo smashed against the crossbar.

    Yet Luton’s luck did run out in first-half stoppage-time as Mbeumo dribbled into the area and his cross rolled into the path of Wissa, who scuffed home.

    Edwards reacted by bringing on Berry, but Brentford’s attacking prowess remained the difference and Kaminski had to be alert to save Damsgaard’s low strike before the hour mark.

    A third goal came soon after when Pinnock powered in a header from Reguilon’s corner, which sparked ‘we are staying up’ chants by the away fans.

    Two minutes later they had a fourth to celebrate after Damsgaard’s lofted pass found Mbeumo, who knocked on for Lewis-Potter to head home at the back post.

    Mbeumo had been superb and he was again involved in Brentford’s fifth after his defence-splitting pass found Vitaly Janelt, who set up Schade for a simple tap-in.

    Luton did have the final say as Berry latched onto a mistake to round Flekken and make it 5-1 in the second minute of added time, but their hopes of beating the drop look even slimmer now despite being applauded off by the home fans at full-time.

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