Liverpool's Mane ruled out for rest of season

Jürgen Klopp is braced for a battle when he takes his Liverpool side to Stoke City looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a late mid-week draw at home to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

Senegal worldwide Mane, who has scored 13 Premier League goals this season, suffered the injury during Liverpool's 3-1 win over Everton in the Premier League last weekend.

Throughout this season, much has been made of Liverpool's apparent lack of strength in depth, and Jurgen Klopp has now reached a stage where the faith he has placed in some of his players needs to be repaid.

Mane is to undergo surgery on knee cartilage damage sustained in last week's Merseyside derby, adding his name to those of captain Jordan Henderson, fellow midfielders Adam Lallana and Ovie Ejaria and striker Danny Ings who are now available for Jurgen Klopp's third-placed side.

"But then he'll have a long break and be ready for next season, so that's the only good news".

On Coutinho: "Phil is still sick, and hasn't been in training yesterday or today".

"We will have to see if we [can] bring him in tomorrow". He'll need surgery, and his season is over. "He feels much better, but it doesn't look too good".

The final seven games of the season have just become a whole lot more hard for Klopp and his men.

Liverpool have won six of their last seven Premier League meetings with Stoke City, the last two both 4-1, although the sole exception within that run was a chastening 6-1 loss in the Potteries on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign.

Klopp will also know that Stoke sit back and defend deep when needed but can not risk throwing forward too many players and risk being hit on the counter.

The England forward has played wide to good effect in the past, so could realistically slot in on the right-hand side of Liverpool's attack, with Origi taking Roberto Firmino's central role, while the Brazilian fills in for Philippe Coutinho on the left.

This is a huge blow for Klopp who is hoping to secure Champions League football.

"I can't remember last time I had everyone available and on top form".

  • Fernando Stephens