A growing injury crisis is likely to force Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp into the transfer market as his playing resources become thinner on the ground.
Both playmaker Philippe Coutinho and centre-back Dejan Lovren sustained hamstring problems in the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final first leg win at Stoke.
It means he currently has 10 players on the sidelines – at least with five hamstring strains – and his only fit centre-back Kolo Toure suffered badly with cramp late on at the Britannia Stadium.
A £5.1million deal has already been lined up for Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic, set to be confirmed on Wednesday, but the 19-year-old will immediately be loaned back for the remainder of the season.
Any reinforcements Klopp may be considering will not arrive in time for Friday’s FA Cup trip to Exeter but the German is considering making an unscheduled move in the January window.
“In this moment with no centre-back fit I would say it is a situation where we have to think about going into the transfer market,” he said.
“Two weeks ago we had three centre backs, that’s a good situation, at the start of the season we had five, now we have none. I don’t know if any have a chance of being fit. Sakho, I don’t think so. Kolo said it’s only a cramp. But I don’t know for him either.
“Sakho isn’t a hamstring, his was the Sunderland foul – the soft foul!”
“Injuries? Yeah that’s it, we will look at our training! We don’t train, we only recover, that is the situation now? There is no training.
“But it’s no problem really. I am responsible for these things and if you want to make me responsible then it’s okay.
“We have five hamstrings (Coutinho, Lovren, Martin Skrtel, Jordan Rossiter and Divock Origi plus Daniel Sturridge is still rehabilitating from one) and it’s my responsibility, but it is like it is and we have to see what we can do.”
Klopp admitted the injuries overshadowed a fine performance at Stoke where Ibe’s goal gave his team the edge in the semi.
“It is a little bit of a strange feeling because we showed great spirit, the fight is great – I don’t say it too often, I was really angry last week, but now I’m proud because we have reacted so well.
“But a big shadow for us were the injuries which don’t look too good. It is not so lucky for us. We have to play four or five games before the second leg, so we will see – if we have 11 we will fight!”