LIVERPOOL Academy director Frank McParland admits the loss of three key players to long-term injuries is difficult to take.

Midfielder Marc Pelosi completed an unwanted hat-trick towards the end of the under-21s’ win over West Brom on Sunday when he broke his right leg.

In recent weeks the Reds have also seen defender Brad Smith and striker Samed Yesil suffer season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

American youth international Pelosi had both his fibula and tibia broken by a poor challenge from the Baggies’ Liam O’Neil.

The 18-year-old underwent successful surgery on Monday.

McParland said: “It’s unbelievable to lose three players to such serious injuries in such a short period of time.

“They will need our support more than ever now as we help them with their rehabilitation.

“Marc will be out for about six months and it’s a big blow as he had been doing really well for the reserves. He had just been added to the club’s Europa League squad and has trained with the first team a couple of times. Thankfully, he’s a strong character and I know he’ll come back strongly from this.”