Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will anxiously await an update on the fitness of Trent Alexander-Arnold after the defender injured the same knee which sidelined him for three weeks in January.
The 25-year-old, who set a new Premier League record of 58 assists by a defender with his corner for Diogo Jota’s opener in the 3-1 victory over Burnley at Anfield, was taken off at half-time.
“His knee again? Yes, it felt like that. He got it stuck in the grass and we will see. We have (to send for) assessment,” said Klopp.
“Same area in the knee. Nothing really bad, but he felt it again and we have to see, we have to assess it.
“Trent said ‘it’s fine’ but it’s not fine (because) he feels it so we had to be careful and took him off and that’s a double problem if you want: Trent is off and the other is we had no other right-backs available.
“So we told Curtis (Jones) what he had to do and we changed formation slightly and tried to make it as simple as possible for him, because it was first time in the life he has played the position (in the Premier League) and we didn’t want him to be the inverted right-back and have to think about these things as well.”
It may not be seen as such in the medium term but Alexander-Arnold’s departure proved beneficial as his replacement Harvey Elliott provided the assists for Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez after Dara O’Shea’s headed equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
“Harvey came on and did really well. All the other boys did well, scored 2-1 at the right moment to give the game the right direction,” added Klopp, whose side regained their two-point advantage at the top after Manchester City’s lunchtime win over Everton had briefly taken them to the summit for the first time since November.
“We scored the third and could have had more, it’s all good. Besides the Trent situation it is perfect.”
The match proved a test of both Liverpool’s mental and physical capabilities after defeat to Arsenal last week as illness affecting Alisson Becker and Joe Gomez added them to an absentee list which already includes Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai, while substitute Ryan Gravenberch was injured in the warm-up.
“Ryan, before the game, felt something. They told me he is fine but you cannot bring a player in who felt something when warming up so we had to act quickly and hopefully,” added Klopp, who said the game would have been like the “wild west” with just seven players on the field had the proposed blue card and sin bin been in use.
“A lot of the boys will be back before the next game because we need them obviously.”
While it was comfortable for Liverpool in the end it could have been different had David Fofana taken either or both of his one-on-one chances with Caoimhin Kelleher in the space of four second-half minutes with the score at 2-1.
“I’ve been to this place as a player quite a few times and we didn’t have as many chances as we did today,” said Burnley boss Vincent Kompany.
“You need to put away your chances and we didn’t do that.”