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Liverpool recall Ilori to rescue defence

Liverpool have responded to their mounting injury problems in central defence by asking Aston Villa to cancel Tiago Ilori’s season-long loan at Villa Park.

Ilori, the London-born Portugal Under-21 international, has not played a competitive game for Liverpool since signing for £7m from Sporting Lisbon in 2013.

The 22-year-old is yet to feature for Villa this season, despite their struggle at the bottom of the Premier League, but such is the shortage of fit centre-halves available to Jürgen Klopp that his parent club are exploring the possibility of an Anfield return.

Liverpool were without the injured Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho for Tuesday’s impressive Capital One Cup semi-final at Stoke City and ended the first leg with midfielder Lucas Leiva alongside Kolo Touré in central defence after Dejan Lovren suffered a hamstring strain.

Philippe Coutinho also damaged his hamstring in the 1-0 win – the extent of his and Lovren’s injuries have not been confirmed – and Touré finished his first full game in almost a month struggling with cramp.

Klopp’s side are in the midst of a demanding run of games with Friday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Exeter City followed by home league games against Arsenal and Manchester United.

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