Liverpool midfielder Luca Stephenson has received the all clear, after a sickening head injury on loan at Barrow saw him taken off the pitch on a stretcher.
Stephenson is enjoying a productive time on loan with League Two side Barrow, with the 20-year-old making his 19th appearance in a promotion tie with Wrexham on New Year’s Day.
It came in difficult circumstances, though, as he replaced midfielder David Worrall following a lengthy period of treatment on the pitch due to a clash of heads.
Worrall took a blow just 11 minutes into the game, but play did not resume until 10 minutes later, with Wrexham scoring three times in first-half stoppage time to overturn an early Barrow lead.
Stephenson was then forced off himself just five minutes into the second half, with a head injury prompting medical staff to stretcher the youngster off.
Though play was suspended twice, both sides carried on in a game that ended in a 4-1 victory for Wrexham, establishing a four-point lead over Barrow in the automatic promotion places.
We can confirm that David Worrall is currently at the hospital being assessed, but he is conscious and talking.
Luca Stephenson is also up and talking and did not need to go to the hospital.
— Barrow AFC (@BarrowAFC) January 1, 2024
Fortunately, Barrow shared an update shortly after full-time, explaining that Stephenson was “up and talking and did not need to go to the hospital.”
Worrall, meanwhile, needed treatment at hospital but was “conscious and talking,” and was later confirmed to have been discharged.
Ryan Reynolds, co-chairman of the Welsh club, took to Twitter to reflect on a “scary few minutes” and wish both Worrall and Stephenson well.
Great start to ‘24 for @Wrexham_AFC…
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 1, 2024
Stephenson is likely to miss Saturday’s meeting with Tranmere due to concussion protocol, though he could be back for the trip to Sutton United on January 13.
That denies him a reunion with Liverpool academy team-mate James Norris, who produced a Man of the Match display in his full debut in League Two on Monday.
Norris has spent much of his time on loan at Tranmere either out of the squad or on the bench, having been substituted off three minutes before half-time in his debut back in September.
But a change of manager, from Ian Dawes to Nigel Adkins, has led to a change of fortunes for the left-back, who shone in a 4-2 win over Notts County on New Year’s Day.
Nat Phillips‘ deal at Celtic has now expired and he will resume training with the first team, while a decision will be made over Luke Hewitson’s similar terms at Stalybridge Celtic.