Club captain Jordan Henderson is officially more injury prone than Daniel Sturridge. That’s a fact, based on the past three years.
Football stats expert Simon Brundish, who does bits for our friends at Anfield Index among others, tweeted a chart today that shows the percentage of games over the three year period which Liverpool’s players have missed.
The results are fairly eye-opening. Sturridge, often branded the most injury prone man in football, has only missed 5% more matches injured than Dejan Lovren – who’s rarely criticised for his inability to make the field… (just his ability on it!).
What’s more, Henderson has missed 38% of our games, which is a full 12% more than Sturridge.
With the English forward, his problem in recent years has actually been his failure to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s demands, rather than straight fitness issues.
Adam Lallana has also missed more games than the striker, interestingly, at 31%. When you consider a £25m signing misses a third of all games played, this is fairly damning.
LFC injury history, last 3 years pic.twitter.com/sG0R1o8UEP
— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) January 19, 2018
On the other side, it’s clear that Liverpool have some absolute machines at our disposal. Gini Wijnaldum has missed just 2% of matches – that’s one in 50. Roberto Firmino is at 3%, while over 30s Ragnar Klavan and James Milner are at 5%.
For us, this demonstrates that ‘ability to stay fit’ is an underrated trait when deciding on player recruitment.
Talent comes first, but there’s no point buying footballers who can’t get on the pitch. Virgil van Dijk has an immensely powerful physique and plays with utter composure, but has missed 14% of games over the past three years, more than Joel Matip, for example.
Hopefully having recovered from his hamstring injury he’ll stay healthy for the remainder of the campaign.