Lallana will miss Merseyside derby during layoff

England's Adam Lallana reacts after being fouled during England's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
England's Adam Lallana reacts after being fouled during England's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League have suffered a significant setback after Adam Lallana was ruled out for a month with a thigh problem.

Video footage emerged on Tuesday, showing the midfielder rubbing his left thigh and hobbling as he made his way to the England dressing room at half-time during last Sunday's 2-0 victory over Lithuania.

Lallana suffered the injury in the World Cup qualifier but went on to complete 90 minutes, raising questions over whether, if it was suffered in the first half, he was asked to play through the pain barrier by England manager Gareth Southgate, tried to run off the problem or did not flag it to the medical team.

He was one of seven players who started both England games, against Germany on Wednesday and Lithuania. But it was during the World Cup qualifier at Wembley that he received a kick on the thigh and tweaked the muscle.

The 28-year-old is out of Saturday's Merseyside derby and could also miss up to five more Premier League games.

Liverpool are due to play Bournemouth, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace next month and Watford on May 1.

It is the second time he has been injured on international duty this season. He missed three Liverpool games in November after injuring his groin against Spain that month. On that occasion he was substituted after 24 minutes.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be frustrated that another injury has occurred while the player was with England and also that John Stones and Raheem Sterling, who play for their top-four rivals Manchester City, played fewer minutes than Lallana.

Neither City player featured in the friendly defeat in Germany. Sterling was substituted after an hour against Lithuania while Stones played the full game.

Liverpool are fourth in the Premier League but have played two games more than Manchester United, who are four points behind, and Arsenal, who trail by six.

There remain concerns that Jordan Henderson will not recover from a foot injury that he suffered a month ago in time for Everton's visit, while Daniel Sturridge has not played since the defeat by Hull City on Feb 4.

Liverpool can switch things around in midfield to a certain extent, perhaps moving James Milner forward from left-back or bringing in Divock Origi into attack.

But without Lallana and Henderson, they will be hoping the Brazilian pair Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino make it back from South America unscathed.

The club chartered a private jet to bring the players back from Brazil following the World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, to ensure they are back on Merseyside in time to prepare properly for the derby.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2017, with the headline 'Lallana will miss Merseyside derby during layoff'. Print Edition | Subscribe