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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Klopp's fears over the Ox' come true

Liverpool midfielder will miss rest of season and World Cup with knee injury

Agony: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lies stricken on the Anfield turf after sustaining a knee injury in Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg win over Roma
Agony: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lies stricken on the Anfield turf after sustaining a knee injury in Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg win over Roma

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's season has been ended by a knee ligament injury which will rule him out of the World Cup.

The England international was carried off on a stretcher in the first half of the 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg victory over Roma on Tuesday night.

He underwent a scan on Wednesday which revealed ligament damage, although the club are not putting a time-frame on how long he is likely to be out for.

The 24-year-old called national team manager Gareth Southgate to speak to him personally about the injury and its implications.

"Liverpool FC can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma on Tuesday evening," said a club statement.

More to do: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talks with goalkeeper Loris Karius at the end of Tuesday’s win over Roma
More to do: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talks with goalkeeper Loris Karius at the end of Tuesday’s win over Roma

"The 24-year-old was assessed by the club's medical team at Melwood on Wednesday morning and no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.

Rehabilitation

"However, Oxlade-Chamberlain will now begin a rehabilitation programme to enable him to reach full fitness again as soon as possible, returning to action next season."

The injury put a dampener on a thrilling Champions League win at Anfield with manager Jurgen Klopp saying after the match: "The biggest blow for the mood is the injury of Chamberlain because we lost a fantastic player."

The Reds looked to have booked their place in the Champions League final after racing into a 5-0 lead with nine minutes to go in the first leg last-four tie at Anfield.

Two brilliant goals for Mohamed Salah, taking his tally to 43 for the season and another two for Roberto Firmino sandwiched Sadio Mane's close-range strike to do the damage but Edin Dzeko and a Diego Perotti penalty ensured next week's game at the Stadio Olimpic is not a foregone conclusion.

Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco
Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco

Klopp added: "Conceding two goals is not what we want 100 per cent but we can deal with that.

"We have to do a job in Rome. That is no problem. We expected that before.

"It's a very positive result. If one of my players doesn't think Rome will try to come back, he will not play."

Those two late goals took some of the shine off a brilliant virtuoso performance by Salah - but not much.

The Egypt international, who broke another of Ian Rush's club records by scoring in a 33rd different match this season, curled one shot in off the angle of post and crossbar and then dinked a second over goalkeeper Alisson.

"Outstanding. The first goal is just a genius strike, he scored already a few like this, which makes clear it is no coincidence," said Klopp.

"What a player. If you think he is the best is the world, write it or say it.

"To be the best in the world you need to do it over a longer period, I think. The other two (Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) are not bad."

Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco has not ruled out staging a comeback next Wednesday like the one which saw the beat Barcelona 3-0 having trailed 4-1 from the first leg.

"Hope is still there. We don't need miracles, we just need to believe in what we do against a quality team, and a different team than Barcelona," he said.

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