Reigning champions Manchester City may have suffered a key setback after centre-back Aymeric Laporte picked up a nasty-looking injury on Saturday.
The defender was stretchered off in the first half of City’s 4-0 win over Brighton after taking a heavy blow to his knee when challenging Adam Webster.
The extent of the injury is not yet known, but City boss Pep Guardiola, speaking shortly after the match, predicted that the Frenchman could be out for ‘a while’.
“I think he is in hospital,” he said, as quoted by the Mail. “It doesn’t look good but I don’t know exactly what he has done.
“Tomorrow, or tonight, we will know exactly what he has.
“He didn’t feel good. The doctor is going to call me and tell me what he has but I think, for a while, he will be out.
“Hopefully it is not as long as Leroy (Sane, Anterior Cruciate Ligament) but we will see.”
Fernandinho might now be forced to fill in as a makeshift centre-half, with John Stones also sidelined.
Laporte enjoyed an excellent 2018/19 season and is one of few players whose absence would really be noticed at The Etihad.
Regardless of any rivalry, you never want to see serious injuries. Liverpool fans would prefer to come out on top against a full-strength City, a greater achievement.