Origi to pick up slack in Coutinho's absence

Liverpool striker Divock Origi whipping a shot past Sunderland's Duncan Watmore and Billy Jones (No. 2) for the Reds' opener in their 2-0 win. The Belgian will be looking to pick up the scoring mantle again with a number of players likely to be reste
Liverpool striker Divock Origi whipping a shot past Sunderland's Duncan Watmore and Billy Jones (No. 2) for the Reds' opener in their 2-0 win. The Belgian will be looking to pick up the scoring mantle again with a number of players likely to be rested against Leeds.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool's Divock Origi says his team-mates must step up in the absence of Philippe Coutinho as they prepare to face Leeds in the League Cup quarter-finals today.

The influential Coutinho suffered suspected ankle ligament damage during the Reds' 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday and could now be out until next year.

After replacing the Brazilian, Origi scored Liverpool's opener and the Belgian believes there is sufficient quality in the squad to compensate for the unavailability of their talisman.

"It's unfortunate with Philippe because everyone knows how good a person he is and I think he was in top form, so I hope it's not too bad," the Reds striker told the Liverpool club website.

"But I'm sure he will come back stronger and I always said that we have a strong group.

"Everybody has to help one another. I'm always ready. I believe I can help the team a lot this year and I believe I have the qualities to start in this team."

Liverpool have scored 19 goals in six home league matches this season, a record bettered only in the 1980-81 season, when Bob Paisley's side plundered 19 in just five games.

But, with Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge doubtful and Roberto Firmino unlikely to be risked after taking a kick to his calf against Sunderland, Origi seems certain to start against Leeds.

Sturridge scored twice as Liverpool, who lost to Manchester City in last season's final, overcame Tottenham 2-1 in the fourth round.

Leeds, fifth in the second-tier Championship, overcame Norwich on penalties in the last round and are the lowest-placed team left in the competition.

There could be an upset in today's other fixture, where Premier League strugglers Hull entertain Newcastle, who are flying high at the Championship's summit under the helm of Rafael Benitez.

Newcastle saw an eight-game winning streak ended by a 0-1 loss at home to Blackburn Rovers after Benitez made a raft of changes. The Spaniard has called on his team to raise their game for the trip to Hull.

"I think we have to take the positives. We were so good for so many games and that has to be the way to go forward," said the ex-Liverpool manager.

"We have to analyse quickly what we did wrong and be ready for the next game in three days."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2016, with the headline 'Origi to pick up slack in Coutinho's absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe