The Curious Case of an Injury Prone Squad

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Why so many injuries?

Ever since Liverpool lost the Dutch brilliance of Georginio Wijnaldum in 2021, I generally find myself dedicating a handful of articles to the former red each season there since, given his understated importance to Liverpool 1.0. I have lessened the volume of such pieces, with these very words being the first time I have mentioned him during this 2023/34 campaign. I still do not believe that the club have fully replaced him and the multitude of qualities he brought to the squad, yet the culmination of certain players does offer varying qualities that can be linked to his legendary talents.

My main irritation, was that after finally signing another controlling and tactically astute body (Alexis Mac Allister) to add to what Curtis Jones’ offered for the left central midfield role, that the Liverpool recruitment team then immediately failed to replace the outgoing Fabinho. The fact that Jordan Henderson was replaced by Dominik Szoboszlai (whilst Ryan Gravenberch came in for the occasional minutes of Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain), meant that overall, only a partial midfield overhaul was just undertaken, which was good, though not great.

What Is Currently Missing…?

JĂĽrgen Klopp would too often harp on about midfield numbers, thereby pointing to multiple middle ground assets which validated his 2022/23 options. Ultimately, that loyalty driven delusion very nearly tarnished the German manager’s tenure, before a productive system and personnel regeneration was implemented. The current quota may be dictates that coverage is just about met, however, the age-old issue with injured assets is a continuing complaint that needs further additions (and potential sales) to level out.

As a bare minimum, one established defensive midfielder must be targeted in the next six weeks, so that when the January transfer window opens, a destroyer can be deployed into the first team picture. Wataru Endō will be headed off to participate in the Asia Cup at the start of 2024, as his role as Japan’s captain takes precedence for six weeks. Thiago Alcântara may never be fit enough to play for Liverpool again (this is not even sarcasm), whereas Stefan Bajčetić needs to patiently undertake whatever growth-related ailments are keeping him sidelined. In addition to the glaring midfield limitations, Trent Alexander Arnold requires a ball winning presence next to him, if his hybrid endeavor is to be a success.

What Type of Midfielder Is Needed, exactly…?

Bulletproof and durable are words that should be pinned to the list of wants, as that was exactly what Gini once offered. My hope is that between now and Christmas, an authoritative and ambitious Sporting Director is installed, one who will be well aware of the shortfall summer of change. An immediate delve into recruitment would see a specialist man sought, who could help ease the burden of those not available or those that have already been sold. In short, Cheick Doucouré or Florentino Luís would be very good additions, with enough experience to see them brought straight into the first team picture.

Is There Anything Else That Is Needed…?

Unfortunately, the fact that Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konaté are injured (once again) is a huge concern. We are all too aware how fragile Joël Matip can be if he is overplayed, which means the needs for one or two defensive pieces should be looked at. Not everything can be pushed until the summer, especially given the unknown future of the Egyptian King, Mohamed Salah. Each and every transfer window represents an opportunity to refresh the squads’ areas of need, whereas the winter window gives the manager a chance to gain coverage for any mid-season injuries or international tournament participants. I would love to see this club push the boat out and really back a second half season assault on this Premier League, given the far less demanding Europa League participation. Sometimes numbers do count and if added bodies can be brought in with a certain level of play attached, then all the better.

This is Liverpool Football Club, therefore, accepting half measures should not be allowed, as it could undermine a promising start to Liverpool 2.0.

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