To have one of your back four out injured is an inconvenience, two is frustrating, three is certainly something you can do without and four is nothing short of an injury crisis. Unfortunately for fans of The Reds, it is the latter that Jurgen Klopp may have to deal with this weekend with the mounting Liverpool injury list now posing a serious threat to their season.
Because with Virgil Van Dijk already booking a long-term stay in the physio’s room, it seems as if the house of cards is beginning to collapse at Anfield and although it would be unfair to say that Liverpool have been lucky with injuries in the past, that luck has certainly deserted them now.
The sight of their Dutch man mountain suffering a ruptured ACL against Everton was the stuff of nightmares for Klopp at a time when questions were already being asked about Liverpool’s title winning credentials for the season.
No Van Dijk: no trophy was the conclusion that most people came to at the end of the recent Merseyside derby and, although that may not be the most audacious statement to make, the results that soon followed proved otherwise.
Liverpool were made to work for their wins against both Sheffield United and West Ham and showed more susceptibility than they have in recent times. However, the most important aspect was that they dug in and ground out important victories.
During the clash with title rivals Manchester City, the opening 45 minutes showed that they remain the equals of Pep Guardiola’s men and, despite the second half becoming nothing more than light sparring, the 2019/20 champions were good value for a hard-earned away point.
Earning seven points from the nine that were made available suggested that all was relatively well and gave fans hope that the players could kick on throughout the winter months. However, the latest international break has undone most of that optimism by doing its best to dismantle the rest of the Liverpool back four and added further stress to an already swollen injury list. Christmas may have come just slightly early for the rest of the division.
Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up a calf injury in the recent 1-1 draw with Manchester City which by itself would be a bitter pill to swallow. With the England international ruled out for almost a month, that was key defender number two on the sidelines.
Things took a further turn for the worse as international teammate Joe Gomez tore a patella tendon while on England duty and with 23-year-old going under the knife, it could be another year before he returns to action.
With three of their first choice dence on the injury list, there was one to go and it was almost inevitable that following Andy Robertson helping Scotland to a first major international tournament in 23 years, he would be unable to come through two hours of football unscathed.
In comparison to the trio above, the 26-year-old has got off rather lightly and with a hamstring injury being diagnosed, there is still a slight chance the former Hull City left back may be fit enough to face league leaders Leicester on Sunday.
Leicester and their manager Brendan Rodgers will be licking their lips at the prospect of going up against such a depleted Liverpool defensive and that is before you even consider the additional absence of Mohamed Salah.
With international football coming in for criticism as of late, the last thing Liverpool supporters would have wanted to hear is that their talisman has tested positive for COVID-19 and will now subsequently require his own period of absence.
Add an additional injury scare to Jordan Henderson, alongside the recent lack of availability from fellow midfielder Fabinho and all of a sudden, the picture that has been drawn in a post Van Dijk landscape is far more gloomy than it was a week or so ago.
While although some quarters will point to rotten luck in terms of the Liverpool injury list, one must question if some of these absences are due to Jurgen Klopp squeezing every ounce out of his players in the past couple of seasons.
After the herculean efforts that were required to win both the Champions League and Premier League in successive seasons, it is understandable to suggest that this group of players is beginning to run on fumes alone.
Is this the beginning of the end for this group of players, in terms of their ability to run through brick walls? It might be a little to tell at this stage. However, if the niggles keep adding up to lengthy treatment spells, one wonders if Klopp’s toys are now finally starting to break beyond repair.
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