DOHA – As the crowd gathered around Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson stood a few yards away and looked on with increasing concern.
Andy Massey, Liverpool’s doctor, was moving his hands around Oxlade-Chamberlain’s right ankle and checking pressure points but the midfielder was in huge discomfort. First he put his hands across his face then he would whack the turf in despair.
Henderson, in between slugs of an energy drink, had worry written all over his face. Klopp, his emotional manager, was rather easy to read. As a stretcher was brought on, the German lifted his baseball cap and muttered: “Oh f***ing hell.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain did not need to be lifted from the pitch after being caught accidentally by Flamengo captain Everton Ribiero, instead walking gingerly back to the dressing room, but the implications were clear and he later reappeared on crutches.
This player, unfortunately, has had enough major injuries to span two careers and having battled back from horrific knee ligament damage earlier this year, the last thing anyone wants to consider is another prolonged spell on the sidelines.