Fans must have felt that January was as difficult as it could get injury-wise with players falling by the wayside every time the whistle blew to signal the kick-off of another match. The middle of February is now well and truly here and the signs are still that the physio room is packed to the rafters with no date set for a number of key members of the squad.
The worrying situation
There are now a total of nine players with injuries which are keeping them well away from the touchline. Whilst over three quarters of them now have approximate return dates, for two players; Lallana and Leiva, there is no light at the end of the injury tunnel following their respective calf and hamstring problems suffered on 14 February. Manager Jurgen Klopp came under fire last month when the intensity of his training sessions and lack of rest time in a busy post-Christmas period was questioned when the number of players with hamstring injuries in particular started to be a real concern. Whilst it is obvious that the new methods of training are rigorous, Klopp has been defended by his team who have said they know they need to work hard to stay in shape and also that they need impress him to stay in the first eleven.
Alongside Lallana and Leiva is Simon Mignolet with a long term hamstring injury and an unknown recovery time as well as six players with approximate return dates;
- Lovren (hamstring), mid-February
- Skrtel (hamstring), 2 weeks and currently back in training
- Rossiter (hamstring), 2 weeks
- Allen (hamstring), 3 weeks
- Ings (knee), 4 months
- Gomez (knee), 4 months
With such long-term problems for Gomez, Ings, Mignolet, Lallana and Leiva I’ll be keeping a close eye on our injuries and suspensions as the rest of the season is shaping up to being challenging. The now-stretched squad are looking to stay match fit for the upcoming Euro 2016 as well as the rest of the domestic fixtures still to come. The league table shows that they really need a few wins over the next few weeks to pull them clear of those settling into mid-table positions. The combination of a heavy game schedule and the new playing style which has been described as ‘more running and intensity’ means that there are calls for extra players to be drafted in; particularly the urgent need for a centre half – or two even.
Sturridge to signal the turning of the tide?
The return of Daniel Sturridge from injury has been long awaited by both fans and the team; he’s been eased in gently by Klopp who is well aware of the string of problems in the past which resulted in only 19 games out of 99 being played before the recent hamstring injury which kept him out for over two months following complications in his recovery.
There were reasons aplenty then to celebrate when the Reds took on Aston Villa and Sturridge not only joined his team mates in a 6-0 demolition of their opponents, but scored the opening goal to a rapturous reception from the stands.
With the successful return then of this popular player, it’s hoped that time will be the great healer and by the end of the season the new look Liverpool will be back to full strength and will continue to strengthen over the summer as they adapt to the work ethic and ethos of their new manager.