If Liverpool hadn’t have suffered as many injuries as they have this year, the Premier League title race might be done and dusted already. As it is, the situation has been nothing short of a crisis for the Reds, with everyone from Virgil van Dijk to Mohamed Salah missing out through the course of the season so far.
Yes, these two injuries were hard to prevent, especially van Dijk’s as it was a reckless tackle from Jordan Pickford. Still, there have been lots of muscle pulls and strains to throw into the mix, so the champions aren’t purely unlucky. So why have Liverpool suffered so many injuries this season? Here is a selection of the problems.
Apart from VAR, the substitutions rule is the most controversial topic for fans and clubs, and Jurgen Klopp hasn’t been shy about voicing his frustrations. Even though the top teams don’t use many subs during the game, there’s no doubt that giving the Liverpool manager a choice of five players to choose from off the bench would help him rest and rotate his players.
As usual, the main men at the top of the pitch would remain, but it’s the other areas where there is a performance overload that would be targeted. Liverpool’s high press and energetic style puts lots of pressure on the midfield three and two fullbacks, so it’s no surprise that Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and captain Jordan Henderson have been side-lined for long periods.
The Premier League schedule
On the surface, the schedule for Premier League clubs doesn’t appear too different. To other years. However, when you delve deeper, you see that there isn’t much recovery time for players to recuperate between matches. For example, the pre-season was five weeks shorter than expected. Plus, there is no winter break this year, and the Europeans Championship means the season is reduced by 35 days. As a result, there is the same number of games, yet they are packed into a shorter timeframe.
Not only are there more midweek matches, but there are fixtures taking place on Friday and Monday, as opposed to Saturday and Sunday. When you factor in Liverpool’s Champions League commitments, and the fact they have regularly played on Wednesday and Saturday, you can see why muscle injuries are up by 23% compared to the same point last season. If there aren’t any changes, you might want to get to a UK casino and lay some predictions, as injuries are likely to continue to occur until May next year.
Liverpool’s playing style
The increase in muscle injuries is across the league, so it’s tempting to say that Liverpool isn’t the only club that is struggling – and they patently aren’t, because Man United have the same amount as of the beginning of December. However, only a handful of sides get near Liverpool in terms of injuries, which means there must be an underlying factor.
Evidently, it’s Klopp’s playing style which puts his men under more physical stress. As a result, Liverpool is the only team to suffer 20 lay-offs of 10 days or more this season. This also correlates with the number of muscle injuries at the club, such as hamstring, thigh and calf tweaks, which is they are up by 17% overall.
With Diogo Jota now out for six weeks, it seems as if Liverpool’s injury woes will continue until after Christmas at the earliest. Can they win the league? It will be close, but the fact they are joint top is a healthy sign.
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