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Old 21-02-21, 01:19 PM   #1
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Mitigation : our injury list

So we have Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip out for the season. Fabinho out. Jota on a long term injury and we missed Thiago for ages (though arguably we were doing alright without him).

We now throw in a long term injury for Henderson. And that is without looking at the injuries we’ve had.

How would the other top teams squads look without 3 CBs, a defensive Mid?

This would mean Man City would be without:
Stones, Diaz, Laporte, (3 CB) Rodri (Fab) Mahrez (Jota) Gundogan (Hendo)

Man Utd:
Maguire, Lindelof, Bailly (3 CBs) Mctominay (Fab) Rashford (Jota) Pogba (Hendo)

Leicester:
Soyuncu, Evans, Fofana (3 CBs) Ndidi (Fab) Perez (Jota) Tielemens (Hendo)

Chelsea:
Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva (3 CBs) Kante (Fab) Werner (Jota) Mount (Hendo)

Everton:
Keane, Mina, Holgate (3 CBs) Doucoure (Fab) Richarlison (Jota) Gomes (Hendo)

Arguably only Leicester and Everton have less squad depth than us. Imagine all of these teams without the listed players for most of the season. All of the above teams would have to be featuring defensive lineups featuring either player none of us have heard off or players playing out of position. They would struggle.

So this season is a dud for us, but with plenty of mitigation and with a few new transfers no reason to think we won’t be right back at the top next season.

As much as I want to believe otherwise we won’t win the CL with Kabak and Fabinho (at best) or Phillips as our Centre Backs.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:29 PM   #2
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Yes Buzzo

Tbh, there's no need to go into so much detail about it. We are handling it better than any other team as we have had Hendo and Fabinho, two midfield leaders that have footballing brains and have been able to adapt as CBs. Any other team would be bottom half already as the rot would have started pre-Xmas.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:31 PM   #3
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Yes Buzzo

Tbh, there's no need to go into so much detail about it. We are handling it better than any other team as we have had Hendo and Fabinho, two midfield leaders that have footballing brains and have been able to adapt as CBs. Any other team would be bottom half already as the rot would have started pre-Xmas.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:39 PM   #4
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You've put some work in there Buzzo, so I won't dismiss it with a one liner. But, it shouldn't be crippling our offensive game to the extent we are seeing. Our front three is the same front three that were the highest scoring forward line in Europe over the last couple of years, the loss of Jota, while big for us because of the poor form of Bobby and Mane is not equivalent to one of the teams listed losing a long term regular striker option, only the Werner one is really equivalent, and maybe not that because he's been shite. We have been able to play a supposedly strong midfield nearly all season. While our injuries may justify most of the points lost, the way we have lost them suggests it's not the only narrative imo.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:42 PM   #5
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sorry I didn't mean that in a bad way Just that there aren't many teams that have two midfielders with the nous of Hendo/Fabinho. Some teams can handle it better than others.

Matip/Fabinho was fab, took us to top of the league
Fab/Hendo was not bad, doable. Definite top 4.

BIG GAP

Hendo/[insert name], has been nothing short of traumatic. Not even worth watching as we have become so susceptible at the back.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:46 PM   #6
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Absolutely no doubts the injuries have hugely impacted us but by the same token that doesn't excuse Mane, Bobby, Trent, Robbo, Gini, Thiago all playing shit at the same time and for long periods of time, Bobby & Trent in particular That's 6 players who if were playing to their best, would get into most teams in the world. The whole squads form has just fallen off a cliff & Klopp himself looks demoralised.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:46 PM   #7
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You've put some work in there Buzzo, so I won't dismiss it with a one liner. But, it shouldn't be crippling our offensive game to the extent we are seeing. Our front three is the same front three that were the highest scoring forward line in Europe over the last couple of years, the loss of Jota, while big for us because of the poor form of Bobby and Mane is not equivalent to one of the teams listed losing a long term regular striker option, only the Werner one is really equivalent, and maybe not that because he's been shite. We have been able to play a supposedly strong midfield nearly all season. While our injuries may justify most of the points lost, the way we have lost them suggests it's not the only narrative imo.
Have we? Milner's been carrying a hammy all season. Surprised they didn't wheel him out last game.
Ox is gone.
Keita dunno.
Jones have high hopes for but he's still relatively inexperienced.
Thiago can't play his usual game as he's cacking himself at losing the ball with our current backline.
Gini has one foot in Barca.

I 100% agree that Firmino is off the boil and we could have picked up more points if he was in top form.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:48 PM   #8
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You've put some work in there Buzzo, so I won't dismiss it with a one liner. But, it shouldn't be crippling our offensive game to the extent we are seeing. Our front three is the same front three that were the highest scoring forward line in Europe over the last couple of years, the loss of Jota, while big for us because of the poor form of Bobby and Mane is not equivalent to one of the teams listed losing a long term regular striker option, only the Werner one is really equivalent, and maybe not that because he's been shite. We have been able to play a supposedly strong midfield nearly all season. While our injuries may justify most of the points lost, the way we have lost them suggests it's not the only narrative imo.
It does though because the foundation of any successful team is built on the defence. Our ability to defend high and compress the game is due to the fact that Virgil and Joe (or Joel) can defend high and cover the space behind. Then, Hendo is in midfield and has the intelligence to cover the full backs, as does Fab. That gives the platform for the forwards.

I agree that 2 of them have come in short which is a worry, but, they’d be getting more space and creating more chances and therefor scoring lore goals if we had an elite level Centre Back pairing - not one that would struggle to get a gig in the Championship.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:51 PM   #9
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Now obviously, disruption in defense has a knock on effect, but Klopp's decisions may have actually increased that. Fab is one of the best CDMs around, and an OK CB, so keeping him in MF, covering for actual, but inexperienced, CBs should have limited the impact on our overall play. Ok, we would probably have conceded more goals but could have continued creating them too. The manager's lack of trust in Phillips seems like a poor decision to me. And if we can't afford such an attacking wingback approach with VVD out, then we have to change shape, because 3 in midfield without as much support down the flanks is a recipe for being over run, or bypassed on the counter, which we have seen this season too often.

So yes, injuries are a big mitigation, but we haven't mitigated against them well either.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:51 PM   #10
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Until Matip got injured we were the top scorers in the League.

I felt we might be able to see it home (as in not implode, stay near the top and maybe do well in the CL) with Matip and Fab at the back along with a signing and Hendo as cover.

We have lost three of those options.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:53 PM   #11
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Klopp has made mistakes and is struggling to find a system to play with the current crop. When Plan A fails, try Plan A. It does seem like we only have one way of playing and with the current injuries and form that clearly is not working and hasn't been for months. That injury list though WTF like, I have never seen anything like it. For me, it all boils down to not replacing Lovren in the summer, such an unnecessary risk & one that has backfired spectacularly.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:53 PM   #12
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Now obviously, disruption in defense has a knock on effect, but Klopp's decisions may have actually increased that. Fab is one of the best CDMs around, and an OK CB, so keeping him in MF, covering for actual, but inexperienced, CBs should have limited the impact on our overall play. Ok, we would probably have conceded more goals but could have continued creating them too. The manager's lack of trust in Phillips seems like a poor decision to me.
There have been errors in judgement for sure. But again the unprecedented nature of the situation is mitigation. Clearly Klopp sees value in having a ball playing Centre back and Phillips isn’t that. Would we be better sticking with him? We are about to find out. Because he will play a lot of games now.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:58 PM   #13
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There have been errors in judgement for sure. But again the unprecedented nature of the situation is mitigation. Clearly Klopp sees value in having a ball playing Centre back and Phillips isn’t that. Would we be better sticking with him? We are about to find out. Because he will play a lot of games now.
We won't know, because we no longer have Hendo or Fab stepping forward, so now we have inexperienced CBs plus a bunch of meh in midfield.

I would like to see us drop back, be more compact, with Salah or Mane up on their own and 5 across the middle, Firmino benched, personally.
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Old 21-02-21, 01:59 PM   #14
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We won't know, because we no longer have Hendo or Fab stepping forward, so now we have inexperienced CBs plus a bunch of meh in midfield.

I would like to see us drop back, be more compact, with Salah or Mane up on their own and 5 across the middle personally.
Same.

If we go 4-3-3 next time Om not watching.

A new formation could also bring the best out of the likes of Ox and Shaq etc.
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Old 21-02-21, 02:20 PM   #15
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Same.

If we go 4-3-3 next time Om not watching.

A new formation could also bring the best out of the likes of Ox and Shaq etc.
Maybe 4-2-3-1

- - - - - - - - Ali
TAA - Kabak - Philips - Robbo
- - - - - -Fab - Gini
- - Shaq - Thiago - Mane
- - - - - - - Salah

Could even put Davies in if we want a more balanced CB pairing.
2 of our next 3 games are against essentially Championship level squads so shouldn’t be a stretch for him.

Although, I think our 433 will become a different proposition again when/if Fab, Naby and Jota are back up to speed.
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Old 21-02-21, 02:25 PM   #16
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Shaq does a very good job wide right for Switzerland. And it would be interesting to see ox get a game in an advanced CM role. Think he'd score a few at least.
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Old 21-02-21, 05:45 PM   #17
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Obviously the injuries have had a massive effect not just on the defence but on the midfield too, and the loss of leaders on the pitch has impacts in other ways. But I feel that there are other issues too. I don't think that the loss of players to injury explains everything. We were starting to see a drop off in performance since the return of football after the first lockdown. While we were getting results there were still signs which were cause for concern earlier in the season.

The impact has also been felt in midfield, at the start of the season I think that we would have expected a midfield 3 from Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Thiago. Obviously Henderson and Fabinho have been seconded to the defence and have had injures to deal with too, but for much of the season we have been able to put at least 2 of those out in midfield and Jones has stepped up more than most would have expected, so I feel that hasn't had as much of an impact on the midfield as some have suggested, but there have been little opportunities for rotation which is what we have tended to do in midfield in the past. So I am split between feeling sorry for them and feeling frustrated by the fact that we aren't seeing enough from them. You might expect that with so many defenders out our midfield is playing more defensively to compensate, but I don't feel that that is happening. Last year if the full backs went forward then Henderson or Fabinho would fill in for them, teams would rarely be left 2 v 2 with our centre backs this season is happening it is happening more, you might expect this as you could argue that Wijnaldum and Thiago are the more attacking of our main 4 midfielders, but that being the case you would expect us to be seeing more attacking play (and concede more goals) but we aren't seeing more attacking play, we are barely creating chances probably only a couple of real chances yesterday. We have failed to score in 6 of the last 10 PL games and our strikers aren't exactly missing sitters. I feel while we have clearly been impacted by injuries, some players really need to step up and show what they are made of because they haven't been doing that so far IMO.

I agree with the others who have said that we need to change the system because what we have at the moment isn't working, but some of the players need to take a look at themselves, and Klopp needs to look at how they have reacted to this adversity and decide if they are really the type of players that we want going forward...
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Old 21-02-21, 07:38 PM   #18
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What's really weird is media buying into "well it's only VvD really" line. Fake news in this world is going nuts, obviously not just in football. I'm having to explain all sorts of truths to my children and I fear when I have passed and this becomes their version of the truth with no one to correct them.

Sorry, sidetracked. The media point stands, no one really believes we have serious injuries.
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Old 22-02-21, 10:09 AM   #19
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You've put some work in there Buzzo, so I won't dismiss it with a one liner. But, it shouldn't be crippling our offensive game to the extent we are seeing. Our front three is the same front three that were the highest scoring forward line in Europe over the last couple of years, the loss of Jota, while big for us because of the poor form of Bobby and Mane is not equivalent to one of the teams listed losing a long term regular striker option, only the Werner one is really equivalent, and maybe not that because he's been shite. We have been able to play a supposedly strong midfield nearly all season. While our injuries may justify most of the points lost, the way we have lost them suggests it's not the only narrative imo.
Yeah, the other narratives are;

1. They are human.
2. The mind is a powerful thing.
3. Crowds help us, funnily enough.
4. Missing the entire bedrock on which our team was built has funnily enough had an impact on our attacking - who would have thought?!
5. Maintaining that level for too long is impossible - ask City.
6. We have had zero luck.
7. Refs have given us fuck all.
8. A full pre-season is vital when you're playing at the levels we achieved the last 2 years.
9. Playing 3 games a week is quite difficult when half your team is missing.
10. They are human.

Have I missed any?
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Old 22-02-21, 10:10 AM   #20
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It does though because the foundation of any successful team is built on the defence. Our ability to defend high and compress the game is due to the fact that Virgil and Joe (or Joel) can defend high and cover the space behind. Then, Hendo is in midfield and has the intelligence to cover the full backs, as does Fab. That gives the platform for the forwards.

I agree that 2 of them have come in short which is a worry, but, they’d be getting more space and creating more chances and therefor scoring lore goals if we had an elite level Centre Back pairing - not one that would struggle to get a gig in the Championship.
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Old 22-02-21, 10:21 AM   #21
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Yeah, the other narratives are;

1. They are human.
2. The mind is a powerful thing.
3. Crowds help us, funnily enough.
4. Missing the entire bedrock on which our team was built has funnily enough had an impact on our attacking - who would have thought?!
5. Maintaining that level for too long is impossible - ask City.
6. We have had zero luck.
7. Refs have given us fuck all.
8. A full pre-season is vital when you're playing at the levels we achieved the last 2 years.
9. Playing 3 games a week is quite difficult when half your team is missing.
10. They are human.

Have I missed any?
Unlikely, seeing how much you stretched the 10 for sarcastic effect.
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Old 22-02-21, 10:27 AM   #22
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Now obviously, disruption in defense has a knock on effect, but Klopp's decisions may have actually increased that. Fab is one of the best CDMs around, and an OK CB, so keeping him in MF, covering for actual, but inexperienced, CBs should have limited the impact on our overall play. Ok, we would probably have conceded more goals but could have continued creating them too. The manager's lack of trust in Phillips seems like a poor decision to me. And if we can't afford such an attacking wingback approach with VVD out, then we have to change shape, because 3 in midfield without as much support down the flanks is a recipe for being over run, or bypassed on the counter, which we have seen this season too often.

So yes, injuries are a big mitigation, but we haven't mitigated against them well either.


I think this is it tbh.

We've killed our midfield dynamism for the sake of shoring up the defence.
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Old 22-02-21, 10:29 AM   #23
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Unlikely, seeing how much you stretched the 10 for sarcastic effect.


I don't think any of it is a stretch to be fair.
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Old 22-02-21, 11:57 AM   #24
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I think this is it tbh.

We've killed our midfield dynamism for the sake of shoring up the defence.
It’s a tricky one though as had we kept our midfield maybe our defence would have been far too weak. We’d have been looking at it being Williams and Phillips for some games

We’ll never know.
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Old 22-02-21, 12:06 PM   #25
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When you’re carrying 5-8 injuries every week, there’s simply no avoiding some area of the team being compromised.
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Old 22-02-21, 12:06 PM   #26
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It’s a tricky one though as had we kept our midfield maybe our defence would have been far too weak. We’d have been looking at it being Williams and Phillips for some games

We’ll never know.
We lost most of the games anyway, would just have made the GD worse, might as well have gone down swinging
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Old 22-02-21, 01:12 PM   #27
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When you’re carrying 5-8 injuries every week, there’s simply no avoiding some area of the team being compromised.
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We lost most of the games anyway, would just have made the GD worse, might as well have gone down swinging


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Old 22-02-21, 02:24 PM   #28
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Yeah, the other narratives are;

1. They are human.
2. The mind is a powerful thing.
3. Crowds help us, funnily enough.
4. Missing the entire bedrock on which our team was built has funnily enough had an impact on our attacking - who would have thought?!
5. Maintaining that level for too long is impossible - ask City.
6. We have had zero luck.
7. Refs have given us fuck all.
8. A full pre-season is vital when you're playing at the levels we achieved the last 2 years.
9. Playing 3 games a week is quite difficult when half your team is missing.
10. They are human.

Have I missed any?

You missed:

Bobby, Mane and Salah conversion rates this season are abysmal compared to last season. At one point we had over 100 chances created with a mere handful of goals. As bad as injuries and defence and midfield have been this season... if you have the ball... in front of goal... and can't put it in... that's down to the front three alone. Irrespective of the challenges across the rest of the team...
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Old 22-02-21, 02:34 PM   #29
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You missed:

Bobby, Mane and Salah conversion rates this season are abysmal compared to last season. At one point we had over 100 chances created with a mere handful of goals. As bad as injuries and defence and midfield have been this season... if you have the ball... in front of goal... and can't put it in... that's down to the front three alone. Irrespective of the challenges across the rest of the team...

Not having that about Salah's return this season.

Salah's goals have been worth 11 points to the team this season. Take away his goals and that is how much of a swing there is. No other player has an output that is worth that to us this season.

To date in the PL he has had 77 shots, 35 on target and has scored 17 goals.

He is also outperforming his xG for the season so far.


Last season in the PL Salah took 132 shots, 59 on target with a goal return of 19. And he slightly underperformed compared to his xG.

Compared to last season, Salah has also improved his successful tackle % this season and has improved his completed pass % this season.

If any of our front three has been doing his job this season, it has been Salah and his conversion rate compared to last season has actually improved.
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Old 22-02-21, 02:42 PM   #30
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Will we actually see Ben Davies ever play for the first team?

If not why exactly was he bought? A youth team player can sit on the bench at best and never play instead
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Old 22-02-21, 02:43 PM   #31
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You missed:

Bobby, Mane and Salah conversion rates this season are abysmal compared to last season. At one point we had over 100 chances created with a mere handful of goals. As bad as injuries and defence and midfield have been this season... if you have the ball... in front of goal... and can't put it in... that's down to the front three alone. Irrespective of the challenges across the rest of the team...
Quality of chances gone down maybe? Coupled with them being a bit shite this season It's a perfect shitstorm of everything I guess
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Old 22-02-21, 02:59 PM   #32
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One thing which may be contributing is the move to the new training ground in Kirby. Footballers are generally superstitious and maybe some are missing Melwood. A similar thing happened when Spurs left White Hart Lane for Wembley, and then again later when they moved into their new ground
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Old 22-02-21, 03:00 PM   #33
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One thing which may be contributing is the move to the new training ground in Kirby. Footballers are generally superstitious and maybe some are missing Melwood. A similar thing happened when Spurs left White Hart Lane for Wembley, and then again later when they moved into their new ground
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Old 22-02-21, 03:06 PM   #34
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One thing which may be contributing is the move to the new training ground in Kirby. Footballers are generally superstitious and maybe some are missing Melwood. A similar thing happened when Spurs left White Hart Lane for Wembley, and then again later when they moved into their new ground
Not convinced by that at all. It’s training pitches and a canteen, how disruptive can it really be?

The injuries, the amount of crucial VAR/ref decisions going against us and the front 3’s chance conversion dropping through the floor are real issues and are a devastating combination.
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Old 22-02-21, 03:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by wiw View Post
Quality of chances gone down maybe? Coupled with them being a bit shite this season It's a perfect shitstorm of everything I guess

Salah's figures have improved quite a bit this season compared to last season, and his league goal tally is already better than all of last season so more as case that it is Mane and Firmino underperforming and Salah is overperforming.
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Old 22-02-21, 03:12 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by super_xabi View Post
Will we actually see Ben Davies ever play for the first team?

If not why exactly was he bought? A youth team player can sit on the bench at best and never play instead
He has been injured but I suspect that he is battling with Phillips for a place in the side, I think the main reason he is here is that he is supposedly decent and was cheap (both in terms of transfer fee and wages). If Kabak, Fabinho and Phillips stay fit I think his minutes could be limited. Personally I would go with Kabak and Phillips as first choice CB pairing and Davies as 3rd choice with Fabinho back in midfield and I really hope that will happen but I fear Fab may still play CB for much of the remainder of the season
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Old 25-02-21, 09:46 PM   #37
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Liverpools injury crisis : 18 Centre back pairings and 155 games missed.

Never one to give up on his team, the Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson tried his best to carry on in the defeat to Everton at the weekend, but the injury to his groin proved too much.

Nathaniel Phillips, who had already started to ready himself when Henderson began grimacing a few minutes beforehand, came on to replace him. The Bolton-born defender’s partnership with Ozan Kabak became the 18th centre-back pairing Liverpool have used in all competitions this season, largely down to major injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

In stark contrast, Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions having used five centre-back pairings last season. Van Dijk featured in every minute of every game and was partnered with Gomez, Matip and Dejan Lovren intermittently. Fabinho made a rare and solo appearance at centre-half when he came on to replace Gomez in a 4-0 defeat to Manchester City following title celebrations days before.

This season, it has been chaos in central defence for Liverpool.

Rhys Williams, who would normally be playing for the under-23s, has already featured 12 times in all competitions alongside five different team-mates. The 19-year-old has acquired 330 minutes of Champions League football. Nobody would have expected Williams, having returned from a season-long loan spell with National League North side Kidderminster Harriers, to go on to make six appearances in Europe’s elite club competition.

Academy defender Billy Koumetio has also featured once when he came on in the Champions League against Midtjylland — to partner Williams.

Phillips is only 23 but is now one of the senior centre-halves. He has made seven appearances in the Premier League and had four different team-mates alongside him in those fixtures. The January arrival Kabak, 20, has played alongside Henderson twice and once with Phillips.

Another January signing, Ben Davies, is yet to feature, so expect that number of partnerships to rise to 19 and beyond soon. Fabinho, who has been absent in recent weeks through injury, is also yet to play alongside Kabak or Davies.



But it is not just Liverpool’s defence that has been hit hard by injuries. Eighteen different players have been sidelined this season and only four of them are recognised central defenders (Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip and Williams).

Those 18 players have missed a combined 155 Premier League games, far more absences than any of their rivals have had to contend with. Van Dijk has been out of action for the most matches, missing 20 since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament against Everton, and Gomez (18) and Matip (16) aren’t far behind.

Liverpool’s three signings from last summer have missed a combined 37 games. Diogo Jota breathed new life into Liverpool’s attack, particularly in the aftermath of Van Dijk and Gomez’s injuries, but the Portuguese forward has missed 12 games in total, the same as Thiago and one fewer than Kostas Tsimikas. In a boost to Jurgen Klopp, Jota returned to full training yesterday.

Luckily for Klopp, Tsimikas is understudy to the dependable Andy Robertson. In the 147 games Liverpool have played since August 2018, Robertson has completed more minutes on the pitch (11,378) than any other player. Mohamed Salah, who alongside Roberto Firmino has featured in the most games (135), has played the second-most number of minutes (11,227). He is followed by Sadio Mane who has made 129 appearances and played for 10,541 minutes.



Although Liverpool will want to play the maximum number of games every season to compete for silverware on all fronts, fans will also be aware it has been a non-stop ride in the past few seasons.

Rest and recuperation is key to this Liverpool team recharging their batteries after such a successful period under Klopp. But with last season running on into July, there was minimal time for any team to take a proper break. Nor was there time for teams to have a proper pre-season.

In recent summers, Liverpool have played at least seven games in pre-season, which has included a squad-bonding tour abroad. Before this season, they played only three friendlies. This contrasts with the eight they played before the 2017-18 season and the nine before the 2018-19 season. In the lead up to the title-winning season, they played seven.

Of course, this is not a situation unique to Liverpool. All the clubs had shortened breaks and pre-seasons, and plenty are feeling the effects of that in terms of injuries. Games are being crammed into a shorter space of time, giving players less time for recovery and training. It is taking its toll and Liverpool are just one of the teams that are suffering.

Nine of Liverpool’s first-team squad have missed 10 games or more, with 155 games missed through injuries in total, as mentioned previously. In comparison, Manchester City, who are on course to win the Premier League for a third time under Pep Guardiola, have had 14 players miss 93 games. Nathan Ake (16) and Sergio Aguero (15) are the only players to have missed more than 10 games.

Manchester United, who have mounted a title challenge this season, have had 11 players out of action. Their total combined games missed is 39, with no player yet to reach double figures for individual games missed. Leicester, nine points ahead of Liverpool in the table, have had the third-most injuries of the clubs in the top seven, with 15 first-team players having missed at least one game but their 96-game total is still some way off Liverpool’s 155.

Everton have had 20 players missing this season for 106 games, including long-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who has missed 24 matches.



The number of players that Klopp has been forced to call upon will also be a concern for Liverpool supporters. On their way to the title last season, Klopp used 24 players. This season, with 10 games to play and January signing Davies yet to feature, he has already used 28, including under-23s such as Williams.

Data provided by Ben Dinnery of Premier Injuries shows that, since 2010, Manchester United are the only team to have won the league having used more players (29), while Manchester City are the team to have used the fewest players (21) on their way to title glory in 2018-19. That year, City fought off Liverpool for the title despite having had a first-team player miss 10 or more days on 35 separate occasions at the 24-game stage of the season.

The table below shows the number of separate 10-plus-day injuries that recent Premier League champions have had at that stage in the season (after 24 games) in the year they won the title and the year they defended it.



So, Liverpool’s total of 28 10-plus-day injuries last season is seven fewer than City in 2018-19, when Guardiola’s team’s strength in depth and quality of leadership helped them to win the title. Perhaps importantly, their central defence was not hugely affected, with Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Vincent Kompany suffering injuries but still featuring in 35, 24 and 17 league games respectively.

Liverpool have had to chop and change all season at centre-back. The player to feature there most is Fabinho, a midfielder. And the knock-on from that has been felt in midfield. It has also meant that Klopp hasn’t been able to rotate players as much as he would like, because they are having to move to fill in different positions in the team, rather than having a rest.

In the past, Klopp has rotated his midfield a lot, resting players such as Henderson when necessary and helping to prevent burnout or injuries. That’s not been possible this season because of the injuries and hectic schedule.

Some have highlighted the intensity of Liverpool’s training as a problem and perhaps something that is contributing to their injury crisis. But this has never been a problem in the past and this season there have actually been fewer training sessions. With more games comes the need for recovery days in between, which naturally eats into time on the training ground.

One man who will be helping Liverpool to navigate through this tricky period is Andreas Schlumberger, who worked with Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. The specialist arrived from Schalke in December to take on a newly created role as head of recovery and performance. He will support the efforts of Andreas Kornmayer, the head of fitness and conditioning. Schlumberger’s focus is on-pitch recovery, where he will help players who have completed rehab build up their fitness before returning to full training. This is to prevent players from getting reinjured before they return to the squad.

Even though The Athletic understands Schlumberger’s appointment was not in direct response to the current situation, this does not mean the club won’t be searching for new ways to help stem their injury woes.

The focus for Liverpool will be on looking forwards and not back. After all, they still have a large number of Champions League-winning, Premier League-winning players on their books who are ready and available. It is up to them to step up and rectify the drop-off in form. Just as Schlumberger and Liverpool’s expert medical department will be working to repair the damage inflicted on players in recent months, the first team will have to do the same when it comes to results on the pitch.
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