Liverpool have been dealt an injury blow to one of their up-and-coming prospects, who’s now facing at least another three months on the sidelines.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill administered the bad news on Conor Bradley in the lead-up to his nation’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, with the right-back set to take no further part in the campaign, which concludes in November – an indicator of just how long he’ll be ruled out of action.
The former Stoke boss revealed (via Belfast Telegraph): “Conor unfortunately has a back injury which will rule him out for these games. I would have to say he would be an extreme doubt going forward as well [for the rest of the qualifying campaign]
O’Neill added that Bradley is continuing his rehabilitation with Liverpool, stating: “We knew he had no chance for these games and I would have to say that probably October will come a little bit too quickly for him as well.
“I would hope he would be back in November but I wouldn’t want to commit too much to that.”
This is such a hammer blow for Bradley, whose performances in pre-season against Karlsruher and Greuther Furth suggested that he could’ve been in line to get a few competitive first-team appearances in 2023/24.
He missed the subsequent trip to Singapore with an injury problem which was believed to be minor at the time, but has now turned out to be rather more serious.
It’s not the news that either he or Jurgen Klopp would’ve wanted, with the Carabao Cup and Europa League having offered an ideal opportunity for the 20-year-old to make an impact at senior level for Liverpool.
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It could also preclude Trent Alexander-Arnold from being played in the midfield role for which he’d been earmarked earlier in the summer, with a lack of right-back alternatives now requiring the England international to take up that position rather than being deployed further upfield.
Bradley’s injury setback should instigate the Reds’ recruitment team to bring in a defender who’d be capable of playing on the right, either as a natural in that berth or a centre-back who’s capable of moving out wide.
We wish the youngster the very best in his recovery and hope to see him back playing as soon as possible, particularly after his star seemed to be in the ascendancy just a few short weeks ago.