Liverpool and England have been dealt a blow after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament problem.
It is the third significant injury to affect manager Jurgen Klopp’s midfielders with Emre Can and Adam Lallana already sidelined.
It leaves the Reds with just three fit senior players in Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum to cover that area for their remaining three league matches, next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma and potentially the final.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was carried off on a stretcher in the first half of the 5-2 first-leg victory over Roma on Tuesday and a scan the following day revealed ligament damage.
FP understands the 24-year-old called England manager Gareth Southgate to speak to him personally as the injury has robbed him of a World Cup place having fought hard to regain his spot.
“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.
Oxlade-Chamberlain wrote: “Absolutely devastated to have picked up that injury at such a crucial time in the season.
“Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England.”
Liverpool are continuing to work closely with relevant authorities following the arrest of two men from Rome on suspicion of attempted murder, after a 53-year-old Reds fan was attacked outside Anfield shortly before kick-off on Tuesday.
Sean Cox, from Dunboyne in Ireland, has been receiving treatment at Walton Neurological Centre after being admitted in a critical condition and a JustGiving page has been set up to raise £5,000 for him and his family.
“Liverpool Football Club will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to establish an understanding of the facts, following a serious and disturbing incident at Anfield (on Tuesday night) which has left a 53-year-old supporter in a critical condition in hospital,” said a statement.
UEFA, which is awaiting reports before deciding on disciplinary charges, said it was “deeply shocked by the vile attack” and added: “The perpetrators of this ignominious attack have no place in and around football and we trust they will be dealt with the utmost severity by the authorities.”
Roma issued an even stronger-worded statement, saying they condemned “in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent behaviour of a small minority of travelling fans who brought shame on the club and the vast majority of Roma’s well-behaved supporters at Anfield”.
The Italian club added: “There is no place for this type of vile behaviour in football and the club is now cooperating with Liverpool Football Club, UEFA and the authorities.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly raised concerns about safety for the second leg, saying: “The incident has raised questions about the policing and safety of Liverpool fans travelling to Rome next week.”
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