Liverpool confirm Trent Alexander-Arnold injury blow with Virgil Van Dijk set to return

The Liverpool defender suffered a knee injury and will miss both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Fulham

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Tuesday 09 January 2024 14:13 GMT
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Trent Alexander-Arnold has been ruled out for three weeks with a knee injury that means he will miss both legs of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final.

The right-back, who has shone for the Reds in recent weeks, sustained the injury during his starring role in Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Arsenal, faces a race against time to be fit for the Premier League clashes against Chelsea and Arsenal over five days at the end of January and the start of February.

But while Liverpool have lost their vice-captain, captain Virgil van Dijk is set to return for Wednesday’s first leg against Fulham after missing the victory at Arsenal with illness.

However, assistant manager Pep Lijnders described the loss of Alexander-Arnold as a big blow and said Liverpool will have to find a new way of playing without his passing.

He said: “So he hyperextended his knee in the game. He has a little tear, a lateral ligament. He will be out probably [for] three weeks. It is a big blow, he was one of our most important players.

“He created a lot of dynamics and was also decisive, Even in bad spells, he was the one who put the balls where it made a difference.

“He can play passes that the forwards really like to receive. He always sniffs when to put balls where. We will have to find a new dynamic.

“Virgil ran yesterday while we were doing the training with the subs. He did a few jogs and looked good. He will be back. He looks good to go.”

Dominik Szoboszlai will sit out the first leg against Fulham but could be available for Liverpool’s next league game, against Bournemouth on 21 January.

Left-backs Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas are progressing well in their recovery from a shoulder injury and a broken collarbone respectively but midfielders Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara are still several weeks away from playing again.

(Getty Images)

“Dom is progressing on the pitch, running, so he is not far to go,” Lijnders said. “Robbo and Kostas will be back training with the team at the end of this month and Stefan and Thiago will be next month.”

Liverpool are without a host of players, with Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo on international duty and Joel Matip also injured, but Lijnders believes they can find a way to win without star men and challenged them to prove that the best teams cope in such times of adversity.

“We have many weapons so no one is irreplaceable,” he added. “Mo goes away so [Diogo] Jota steps up and that is what we always have done. We don’t rely on one or two or three or four players.

“We spend a lot of money in the summer, we really invested in the squad The ownership really brought in the right players so even when you have injuries at the moment they will be back and not that long. The difference between a good season and a top season is how you react in these phases when players are missing. This squad has so much talent and so much power. As long as counter-pressing is there, everything else is replaceable.”

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