Liverpool overcomes Coutinho injury, beats Sunderland 2-0
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool overcame the loss of Philippe Coutinho to an ankle injury in the first half to beat Sunderland 2-0 and keep up its title challenge in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Coutinho was carried off on a stretcher in the 34th minute with his right leg in a brace after a challenge with Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong.
Divock Origi came on as Coutinho's replacement and put Liverpool ahead in the 75th minute with a curling shot into the far corner. James Milner converted a penalty in stoppage time to seal victory after Ndong tripped Sadio Mane.
Liverpool, which started the 13th round of games in second place, has lost only once this season.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp wasn't immediately sure what Coutinho's injury was, but said the playmaker "had pain, but (the) pain gets better."
The loss put an end to Sunderland's mini-revival, after back-to-back wins lifted the team off the bottom of the standings. Sunderland manager David Moyes' poor record at Anfield continued — including his spells at Everton and Manchester United, Moyes hasn't won in 14 games.
The visitors conceded 78 percent of possession but managed to limit Liverpool to a handful of half-chances in the first half.
Part of Sunderland's success in negating the threat of Liverpool, which scored 17 times in five previous home league matches, was Jason Denayer's man-marking job on Coutinho.
The one occasion that the on-loan Manchester City defender lost his man resulted in Coutinho's injury, as Ndong's follow-through caught the right foot of the Brazilian, who was trying to jink past him.
Sunderland's one chance before the break fell to former Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar but goalkeeper Loris Karius just got out quick enough to block.
Liverpool's frustration finally ended 15 minutes from time when Jordan Henderson picked out Origi on the left of the penalty area and the striker threaded a shot across a crowded box and inside the far post.
After Milner stepped up to score his fifth goal of the season, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had the luxury of handing 17-year-old academy graduate Ben Woodburn a debut.