THE club captain? Check. His deputy? Yes, him too. Liverpool’s best centre-back? On the list. Their premier forward? He tops the damn thing. Liverpool are at the summit of the “Why Us?” League with 10 injuries and the treatment room at Melwood has been more troubled than opposition goalkeepers.
The frequency of the setbacks are made more annoying by the significance of them; there is no doubt Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Mamadou Sakho would be named in Jurgen Klopp’s strongest starting 11. The energy and intelligence the skipper supplies in midfield has been missed, along with his influence and leadership. Forget “D Studger D”, Sturridge’s moniker should simply be “The Difference”. No explanation needed, surely? We’ve been here before, many many times before. Sakho, meanwhile, could pass gas and make it great.
Yeah, thought they’d be no arguments to that.
Every highlight at Liverpool seems to be followed by an injury hinderance. The euphoria over Jürgen Klopp’s appointment quickly married the anxiety of losing both Danny Ings and Joe Gomez to ACL complaints in consecutive days. The striker’s frame is crammed full of fighting football, which would have been profitable on the pitch and earned him sizeable hugs from the manager post-match. “Young gem” Joe Gomez began his first season as a Premier League player glowingly, but will spend the rest of it gutted.
Liverpool navigated past that double blow before the buzz over the German’s first game in charge was barbered by Sturridge’s unavailability. Then, with three consecutive wins clocked up, Sakho’s knee clocked out in the defeat to Crystal Palace.
Every silver lining for Liverpool just gets splattered with shite medical jargon. Ligaments this and tendons that. The out-on-loan squad haven’t escaped this either: Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic, Tiago Illori, Luis Alberto… It’s hard to keep up with all the club’s players who are currently sat with their feet up.
And yet, remarkably, Klopp hasn’t used any of this as an excuse. Instead, the 48-year-old has been swatting away claims that he needs to spend silly in January, reinforcing his message to the squad that they’re all good enough for him.
The manager doesn’t want to play fantasy football, he wants to create the best possible reality. And so while supporters have been grimacing over expected repeats of Dejanism, the magnetic trainer is trying to dump the defender’s baggage and rebuild his conviction.
Klopp has also been assessing the club’s young talents, who are out on loan. Sheyi Ojo, Sergi Canos and Harry Wilson have been temporarily recalled during the international break so the Reds boss can meet and analyse them.
Ryan Kent was at Melwood on Friday and Saturday, before joining the England Under-20s on Sunday.
Brazilian starlet, Allan, who the manager has already spoken to regarding his successful stint in Finland, is also training with the first team. The two-time Bundesliga winner is known to shun spending in favour of solving from within. It would be no surprise to see him turning to the club’s potential rather than pushing heavily for pricey purchases.
While it’s no fun being top of the injury league, it would be even less enjoyable if the manager was sulking about it instead of actively seeking solutions. Klopp was brought in to school the players, but we can all get an education off him.
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Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo