Jurgen Klopp hits out at referee after Ryan Gravenberch injury

Liverpool’s injury woes took a turn for the worse when Ryan Gravenberch was carried off on a stretcher less than half an hour into the Carabao Cup final.

Virgil van Dijk’s header won the game for Liverpool with just three minutes left of extra time, after the sides could not be separated, but it was a team of youngsters who were on the field for the final whistle.

Conor Bradley was named in the starting XI, with first-choice right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold ruled out with a lateral collateral ligament injury.

Just 27 minutes into the match, Gravenberch was taken off on a stretcher following a heavy collision with Moises Caicedo, who Liverpool tried to sign in the summer.

Jurgen Klopp remained concerned by the referee’s decisions over the Gravenberch injury.

Gravenberch was carried off the Wembley turf on a stretcher (AP)
Gravenberch was carried off the Wembley turf on a stretcher (AP)

“There were two teams fighting very hard, and the referee didn’t have the level of the game,” the Liverpool manager said to Sky Sports after the game.

“It was not even a foul?! Then the fourth official explaining we cannot give a card... good idea. This situation was obvious for me, everything you need for a card.

“They did an x-ray [on Gravenberch], it is not broken but the ligaments got something. I actually feel really bad, but everything else is really good.”

It was a clumsy challenge from the Chelsea midfielder, who slipped but his boot went straight into the ankle of the Dutch player.

Gravenberch went down immediately holding his ankle, and the physios called for the stretcher, but there was no yellow or red card shown by the referee to Caicedo.

The Reds have a mounting injury list and were without 11 senior players ahead of the match.

Liverpool’s young team claimed victory at Wembley (AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool’s young team claimed victory at Wembley (AFP via Getty Images)

Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai had hoped to be fit for the game but were ruled out late.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were recently added to the long-term injuries of Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic, Ben Doak, and Joel Matip.

Of those, Jones is expected to be the first to return, and he should be fit around the time of the international break next month, but there is no respite, with the others not expected to return until afterwards.

The schedule offers Liverpool little respite going forwards, and they host Southampton in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday, one of three successive weeks of midweek and weekend fixtures.