Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is out of the England squad for their three November internationals after suffering a potentially serious knee injury.
The centre-back will undergo further diagnosis on the issue with his club’s medical team after suffering the problem in England training on Wednesday.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate says the full extent of the injury is not yet known but he was “in a fair bit of pain”, which will undoubtedly cause serious concerns for the champions, who have mounting injury problems.
Southgate said: “I can’t tell you how serious it is because he is yet to have scans. What was upsetting was to see he was in a fair bit of pain, and the fact there was nobody around him when the injury happened.
“We just have to wait and see what the scans show, and we are all hopeful for him that it is not what it might be. But it’s not a good situation. I don’t see him being involved in the games with us, that’s for sure.
“My immediate thoughts are with him because he’s had some difficulties with injuries with him in the past. So we are praying it’s not going to be a long-term one. But we just have to see.”
A long-term absence for Gomez would be another huge injury blow for Liverpool, who are expected to be without fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season after he suffered a severe knee injury against Everton last month.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is also missing right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold for around a month as well as Fabinho, who had been deputising for Van Dijk, although the Brazilian is expected to return after the international break.
Gomez is certain to miss England’s friendly against Republic of Ireland on Thursday and the two remaining Nations League group games against Belgium on Sunday and Iceland next Wednesday, although the latter is not certain to take place due to coronavirus restrictions.
Any non-UK resident is currently banned from entering the country from Denmark, where Iceland play on Sunday, due to a new strain of the virus being detected in mink farms in the Scandinavian country.
In better news, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is set to join the England squad after being assessed on a shoulder problem by his club following last Saturday’s 3-1 win at Everton.
Striker Rashford will travel to St George’s Park on Thursday – the day of the Republic of Ireland game – making him more likely to be available for Belgium on Sunday, and Iceland – pending a decision from the government on Thursday – next Wednesday.
While the extent of Gomez’s injury is yet to be determined, it is another defensive blow for Liverpool.
The winter transfer window opens on January 2 and the Reds could be in the market for defenders if Gomez also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but what are their fixtures like until then?
Liverpool’s remaining 2020 fixtures
|Sat 21 Nov||Leicester (h)||Premier League|
|Wed 25 Nov||Atalanta (h)||Champions League|
|Sat 28 Nov||Brighton (a)||Premier League|
|Tues 1 Dec||Ajax (h)||Champions League|
|Sat 5 Dec||Wolves (h)||Premier League|
|Wed 9 Dec||Midtjylland (a)||Champions League|
|Sat 12 Dec||Fulham (a)||Premier League|
|Wed 16 Dec||Tottenham (h)||Premier League|
|Sat 19 Dec||Crystal Palace (a)||Premier League|
|Sat 26 Dec||West Brom (h)||Premier League|
|Mon 28 Dec||Newcastle (a)||Premier League|
Jurgen Klopp’s side return to action on Saturday November 21 when they take on current league leaders Leicester, who they are just one point and two places behind in the Premier League table.
In December, Liverpool will face Wolves and Tottenham at home as well as tricky away trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle among their Premier League fixtures. They will also face Southampton on Saturday, January 2 – the day the winter transfer window opens.
Of course, there is also the Champions League group stage to tackle before the new year. Liverpool have three wins from three so far, and have two home fixtures to come – firstly, against Atalanta on Wednesday, November 25, before Ajax on Tuesday, December 1. A final away trip to Midtjylland follows on Wednesday, December 9.
Andy Robertson believes Liverpool’s point at Manchester City on Sunday has left them well placed amid this season’s unrelenting schedule.
The champions lost top spot in the Premier League over the course of the weekend but were satisfied to leave the Etihad Stadium with a 1-1 draw and Robertson feels they are doing well to be third in the circumstances.
“We are always hungry for more but we have to be happy,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“I think when we started getting some injuries and lost a couple of players with Covid-19, everyone expected the wheels to fall off.
“But we’ve managed to steady the ship a little bit and pick up some great results. Long may that continue and long may we keep building our confidence and building our performances.
Arsenal wing-back Bukayo Saka is grateful to England captain Harry Kane for helping him settle in the national team and hopes to repay the faith shown in him by manager Gareth Southgate.
Saka, who made his England senior debut against Wales last month, has been called up to Southgate’s squad for the second time ahead of matches against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise since breaking into Arsenal’s first team in November 2018, and he revealed it was Tottenham striker and England captain Kane who helped him settle when he joined up with his international team-mates.
“All the boys have been so good with me from the first minute I came in,” Saka said in his first England news conference.
“Harry Kane put his arm around me, he spoke to me and asked me how I was. For him to do that, it helped me settle in much quicker and made me feel comfortable to be myself around everyone.
“That helps me not just off the pitch but also on the pitch too, because I feel like I can be myself, express myself and play with the confidence that I play with back at my club.”