Lovren injury could force Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp into transfer market
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren cast a shadow over Tuesday's 1-0 victory at Stoke and may force him to dip into the January transfer market.
Mamadou Sakho missed the game with a minor knee problem, leaving Kolo Toure as the only fit centre-back -- and even he suffered with cramps late on at the Britannia Stadium.
Klopp is now considering calling for reinforcements with their next game on Friday night.
"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."
Jordon Ibe, only on the pitch because of Coutinho's hamstring problem, scored the decisive goal in the 37th minute and after another reshuffle when Lovren departed, after also pulling a hamstring, Liverpool put in the resilient performance their manager had called for in the wake of Saturday's dismal 2-0 defeat at West Ham.
"It is a little bit of a strange feeling because on the one side we have won this game and played well, the fight was great," said Klopp after the Capital One Cup semifinal first leg at the Britannia Stadium.
"I don't say it too often but I was really angry last week but now I'm proud because we have reacted so well in such a difficult game in all parts.
"Before the game if somebody had told us draw we would taken it, so 1-0, we are happy. Of course with the injuries it is not perfect, two injuries it is not good.
"A big shadow for us were the injuries which don't look too good. We will have to wait for this, I don't know how serious, but it is not such good news."
Liverpool now have six players either with, or recovering from, hamstring injuries but with such a packed fixture schedule, with an FA Cup trip to Exeter on Friday, Klopp does not know what he can do about it.
"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," he said.
"But it's no problem really. I am responsible for these things and if you want to make me responsible then it's OK.
"We have five hamstrings [Coutinho, Lovren, Martin Skrtel, Jordan Rossiter and Divock Origi with Daniel Sturridge still rehabilitating from one] and it's my responsibility but it is like it is and we have to see what we can do."
Ibe admitted he thought Joe Allen's pass which set up his goal was in fact an attempted shot.
"I think he was trying to get the shot off, but it was good that we got the goal," he said.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes was frustrated his side never got going but thankful they limited the damage.
"First half sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition," he said. "They restricted space to good effect, the same as we do when we try to impose our tactics.
"They had the benefit of the goal and as a consequence they could drop deeper and protect it.
"We dominated the second half but we didn't get that break.
"The key was that we didn't concede another and that was a danger. If we conceded another one that would have been a huge task."