Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has confirmed that midfielder James Milner is absent until the next international break with injury.
The 35-year-old came off with a hamstring problem in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Manchester United. He has proved an important figure for the Reds in more than just midfield roles this season.
He also put in a solid display for 26 minutes at Old Trafford, but he now faces a spell out of the team.
Liverpool have problems elsewhere in midfield, with Naby Keita suffering an injury against United. Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho did not make the squad due to their own issues.
Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, Liverpool assistant manager Lijnders confirmed that Milner will not be available for some time.
“Millie felt something, he felt something wasn’t right in his hamstring, a little bit tight,” the coach told reporters.
“Then [Mason] Greenwood made this run and he decides, ‘I need to catch him’ – how Millie is, putting the team always first. And that created a bigger injury in that moment, that run.
“It shows a lot about his character and his will power to put the team first. This [injury] will be until the international break for sure, so it’s a long one. But we will need him in the coming period.
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“My job title is assistant manager but I think you can give that job title to Millie as well.
“He connects the staff and the players in how he assists our manager. So, he has a role to play and he knows this, so all good. He needs to stay vocal, let me say it like this.”
Keita came off worse following a challenge with Paul Pogba in the second half, for which the Frenchman received a red card.
The Liverpool man left on a stretcher, but Lijnders revealed that the injury is not as serious as first feared.
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“Naby has a bruise in this moment, we assess it day by day. It’s looking good, so that’s good,” Lijnders added.
“Fabinho will not be ready for tomorrow’s game, we will assess him day by day still. He can make the game on Saturday hopefully.
“Then we have Thiago as well, who is closer to team training than ever.
“He will be later in the week with the team training. Probably Brighton comes too early but it’s good that he is back, especially in the situation we are in.”
As for Keita’s injury, Liverpool reportedly feel that as many as five Man Utd players could have seen red at Old Trafford.