Liverpool’s centre-back crisis has suffered another blow after Joe Gomez suffered a potentially serious injury on England duty, joining Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho on the treatment table.
To compound the injury crisis, influential right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold also withdrew from international duty with an injury sustained during the 1-1 draw at Manchester City.
But have Liverpool picked up the most injuries this season? Data compiled the Premier Injuries reveals Jurgen Klopp’s side have picked up 15 injuries lasting 10 days or more this season – only Manchester City have suffered more (16).
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City struggled with defensive injuries last term and currently have Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho sidelined – but summer signing Ruben Dias and the emergence of Joao Cancelo has enabled a strong rearguard in their absence.
However, six of Liverpool’s last eight injuries have affected defenders or goalkeeper Alisson – while Gomez and Joel Matip also missed 42 days combined earlier in the season from previous strains.
The spate of misfortune has resulted in six different starting centre-back partnerships in just eight league games and the table below suggests Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Fabinho is fit to partner Matip when the Reds face Leicester in nine days’ time – with Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams in reserve.
How did injuries affect Liverpool last season?
Liverpool ranked mid-table for the total number of injuries last season with 34, while Newcastle picked up a league-topping 45 during the campaign.
Xherdan Shaqiri suffered the longest lay-off with 249 days missed from three injuries, followed by Matip (189 days from three injuries), Alisson (105 days from two injuries) and Jordan Henderson (88 days from two injuries).
Redknapp: No Gomez, VVD puts huge stress on Liverpool
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp told the Pitch to Post podcast:
“I’m choked for Joe Gomez if it is a bad injury. He’s a young man who has already had knee injuries and come back brilliantly. I’m a big fan of his, he seems like a really good, down to earth player.
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“I remember seeing him many years ago playing for Charlton in the FA Youth Cup and thinking ‘this is a star of the future’ and he’s certainly proved that at Liverpool. I just hope it’s not going to be anything too serious.
“From an England point of view, it’s a disappointment for Gareth Southgate, but for Jurgen Klopp, if this is a long-term one and you’ve got no Virgil, no Joe Gomez, that puts an enormous amount of stress on this squad from a team that were red-hot favourites at the start of the year.
“It’s certainly going to change things and for everybody else involved, that back two have been so impressive at times. It’s not been easy with no Virgil at the moment, but no Virgil and no Gomez is going to make it even more difficult.
“I suffered with injuries playing for England and it’s really hard to deal with because you’re so proud that you’re there but you also know it’s costing you an enormous amount of time in your career.
“I broke my ankle twice playing for England, tore my hamstring playing for England, it cost me an enormous amount of time. Of course you wouldn’t swap it for the world but there is something so frustrating because it should be the highlight to play for your country but when you come back injured, it’s frustrating for everybody.”
What does Liverpool’s fixture schedule look like?
While the extent of Gomez’s injury is yet to be determined, it is another defensive blow for Liverpool.
The winter transfer window opens on January 2 and the Reds could be in the market for defenders if Gomez also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but what are their fixtures like until then?
Liverpool’s remaining 2020 fixtures
Jurgen Klopp’s side return to action on Saturday November 21 when they take on current league leaders Leicester, who they are just one point and two places behind in the Premier League table.
In December, Liverpool will face Wolves and Tottenham at home as well as tricky away trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle among their Premier League fixtures. They will also face Southampton on Saturday, January 2 – the day the winter transfer window opens.
Of course, there is also the Champions League group stage to tackle before the new year. Liverpool have three wins from three so far, and have two home fixtures to come – firstly, against Atalanta on Wednesday, November 25, before Ajax on Tuesday, December 1. A final away trip to Midtjylland follows on Wednesday, December 9.
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