Reds thump minnows again but injury list swells

Emre Can after scoring Liverpool's second goal against Maribor in the Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday night. Daniel Sturridge completed their 3-0 win over the Slovenian minnows, who defended deep in the first half.
Emre Can after scoring Liverpool's second goal against Maribor in the Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday night. Daniel Sturridge completed their 3-0 win over the Slovenian minnows, who defended deep in the first half.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp hailed his Liverpool side for showing the patience required to break down Maribor following their 3-0 win in the Champions League on Wednesday.

But his joy at cementing top spot in Group E, on eight points, was tempered by midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum joining the club's growing injury list.

The Dutchman was substituted in the 17th minute, foiling Klopp's plan to rest Jordan Henderson, after he suffered an ankle injury.

He is a doubt for Liverpool's trip to West Ham tomorrow. Playmaker Philippe Coutinho is expected to miss the clash at the London Stadium, Dejan Lovren is also a doubt as he recovers from a hamstring injury, while Adam Lallana (thigh) and forward Sadio Mane (hamstring) remain sidelined.

"We missed three and then after Gini went off, four of maybe the most creative players in the league," said Klopp.

It proved to be a frustrating, goal-less opening 45 minutes for Liverpool as the Slovenian minnows defended deep in a 5-4-1 formation following a 7-0 rout in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago.

But the hosts prevailed with goals from Mohamed Salah, Emre Can and substitute Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool could even afford to miss a penalty, with James Milner squandering an opportunity to double their lead when his effort was touched onto the post by Jasmin Handanovic.

Klopp said: "At half-time, we told the boys we have to, first of all, stay patient - it is not allowed to be frustrated about different things."

Victory, coupled with Sevilla's 2-1 defeat of Spartak Moscow, left Liverpool a point clear at the top of Group E, keeping their hopes of a first appearance in the knockout rounds since 2008-09 in their own hands.

The Reds travel to Sevilla later this month before they close the group stage at home to Spartak next month.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline 'Reds thump minnows again but injury list swells'. Print Edition | Subscribe