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Sheyi Ojo out with minor back injury, could miss start of season

Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo missed both of the club’s final two pre-season games with a back injury, it has been revealed.

The 19-year-old was expected to play a big part against Barcelona and Mainz 05 this weekend, but was unable to feature after undergoing treatment on a back problem.

Instead, the likes of academy duo Ben Woodburn and Toni Gomes were included in Klopp’s squad for the latter, with Ojo remaining at Melwood as part of his recovery work.

That is according to the Liverpool Echo, who report that Liverpool “hope it’s not serious,” following a spate of injuries in recent weeks.

Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez, Loris Karius Lucas Leiva, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge are all currently sidelined, with Ojo joining the quintet as a doubt for next Sunday’s Premier League opener away to Arsenal.

Ojo had impressed when called upon in pre-season, playing a hand in a number of goals during Liverpool’s tour of the US.

Unlikely to leave the club on loan this summer, the ex-MK Dons youth is more likely to challenge for a starting role in Klopp’s attacking line.

This will see him compete with the likes of Sadio Mane, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana.

SANTA CLARA, USA - Saturday, July 30, 2016: Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo in action against AC Milan during the International Champions Cup 2016 game on day ten of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Levi's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will have fewer options for the trip to the Emirates Stadium, however, but Ojo’s absence won’t be felt too heavily.

For the player, however, it represents a frustrating setback, having already joined pre-season training late following his exploits with the England U19s at the European U19 Championship.

Ojo produced a star turn throughout the tournament as Aidy Boothroyd’s side reached the semi-finals, before falling to defeat to Italy.

An accomplished first-team winger, with great scope for further development, Ojo is hoping for a breakthrough season in 2016/17, as he hopes to emulate his former Dons team-mate, Dele Alli.

This will have to wait, however, as he begins his recovery from a disappointing injury.

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