The occurrence of injuries amongst footballers is nothing unusual in the highly physical and exertive contact sport like the game football. However, when injuries sideline a team’s key players – the adverse effects almost always derails the short and, oftentimes, long term aspirations of the affected club. This takes us to the injuries worries that at present beset Liverpool, just as the Premier League matches slow to a temporary halt due to the international break.
Liverpool, like most teams in the Barclays Premier League, have had their own fair or even unfair share of injuries to some of their important players; some of their unavailable players were injured before the commencement of this current season – Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings – while others pick up their own injuries during the exertions of the current season.
In the course of this season in which Liverpool have shown great defensive frailty and profligacy in front of the goalpost, they have also shown the devastating effect of their attacking play when their strikers are in-form. Their fearsome attacking unit was somewhat dulled when Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, arguably the club’s most technically gifted and prolific scorers, succumbed to injuries that have made them absent from some of the Reds’ high profile matches in recent weeks.
The cheery news that will undoubtedly sound like the most dulcet music to the ears of Liverpool fans is the one emanating from Jurgen Klopp; the Reds’ tactician spoke with certainty about the return of Mane and Lallana to the first team. The duo, according to klopp, will have been fully fit after the international break. And as at the time of this write-up, some news reports even suggested that Mane may be available for selection in the club’s up-coming match against West-Ham. Continuo, whose injury is reportedly on the mend, is also expected to be fully fit after the inter-national break.
Lets us take a terse and careful look at what the Reds have missed in the absence of the three players in question.
Mane – the Senegalese speedster needs no introduction to most Liverpool fans and watchers of the Premier League. Liverpool picked up a winner when they signed Mane from Southampton last season, and he proved doubters wrong when he scored a double digit of goals for the club last season; and his goal tally would have been more had he not been away to African Nation Cup and had injury not sidelined him towards the end of the season. Before his latest injury during his international engagement, Mane had scored three goals in all competitions. It was when Mane was red-carded at the Etihad that Liverpool unraveled and conceded so many goals. It can also be argued that had he been around in the game against Tottenham the scoreline would have been much different. The return of Mane to the team will definitely add great potency to Liverpool’s attack from the flanks.
Philippe Coutinho – the pint-size Brazilian renders all adjective insufficient when one tries to put in writing what the Brazilian does with the ball at his feet. Coutinho is far and away the most technically gifted player in Liverpool’s current team. Blessed with a wide repertoire of dribbling skills , the four goals and three assists he has recorded this season, despite his late introduction to the first team, is a testament to his resourcefulness and influence in Liverpool. When Coutinho returns from injury – he shall bring goals and assists that come with his brilliant performance in the field of play.
Adam Lallana – This multi-talented mid-fielder is the type of player commonly found in south-America and other climes where excessive premium is set on what a player can do with the round leather. Lallana has been sorely missed by Liverpool since the league began; and some football observers believe his absence is the reason Liverpool have abandoned the gengen-pressing that was instrumental to the excellent performances last season. The English inter-national’s ability to use both feet almost equally, his rare gift of attacking the opponent in tight places and the rapidity with which he changes direction while running with the ball add a unique quality to Liverpool’s game when he is in the pitch. Lallana will bring a different dimension to Liverpool’s game when he returns from injury, and he can slot seamlessly into the role of Coutinho should the Brazilian succumb to injury or suffer loss of form.
The return of these uniquely skilled players to Liverpool in the near future will not only enrich the quality of their game but it will also create a welcome selection headache for Jurgen Klopp. Even the players that would be consigned to the bench would be those with the skill-set to make significant impart when called upon to play.
The timing of the return of this fearsome threesome has a slice of good fortune to it: their presence will swell the numbers of senior players at Klopp’s disposal, as the team braces itself up for the crowded fixtures of the festive season. And should Liverpool be able to record a run of wins before the January transfer window opens when re-enforcement of the central-half position is expected to be made, there is no objective that lies beyond attainment for Liverpool this season.