Dave Davis explains why perspective is needed after Liverpool have experienced a few setbacks during the preparations for the 2016/17 season.
After a positive start to our pre-season campaign, bad luck seemed to filter in at a rate last week. Sakho being sent home, the Chelsea result and injuries, plus rumours over our left back options left many a red wondering what could get worse. Now is a time for calm heads, avoiding Twitter meltdowns and carefully analysing the facts to show there is still much to be positive about.
Sakho being sent home didn’t look great, especially after it was confirmed that it wasn’t a decision related to his Achilles treatment. Jürgen Klopp was clear in his reasoning:
“It’s not that serious. He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal. I have to build a group here, I have to start anew, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool and after eight days, when we come back, we can talk about it.”
Crucial words – it’s not that serious. Sakho is not finished at Anfield as the headlines have suggested and in the long-run may learn a valuable lesson. Personally, it’s pleasing to see a Liverpool manager whose prepared to be ruthless and takes no prisoners.
Forget the Chelsea result, the game was about fitness for players. Admittedly, quite a few pick up knocks such as Klavan and Grujic, but they will recover quickly so there’s no concern there. The broken hand of Loris Karius did trigger a meltdown for many reds after it was confirmed he’d be out for 8-10 weeks. You can’t claim it’s great news but rationale is needed here.
Looking at the back up options for our rivals, there aren’t many better 2nd choice keeper options than Simon Mingolet. Romero At United, Ospina at Arsenal and Vorm at Spurs don’t appear any better, plus they haven’t played regularly. Even Begovic at Chelsea looked suspect and penalty saves aside, Willy Caballero isn’t a better keeper. We initially expected Karius to be at the Olympics for the first three games anyway. Alex Manninger anyone?
The left-back saga has riled many this summer as the drawn out pursuit of an unproven Ben Chilwell proved unfruitful. The rumour that James Milner was our back up option did nothing to calm the situation, as the thought of Alberto Moreno turning out for us week after week brought some reds to the brink of tears. Whilst I’m no Moreno fan, the pursuit of Chilwell indicated that Klopp was looking for a back-up rather than someone to come straight in ahead of the Spaniard. If Klopp has faith in Moreno we have to back him, despite any reservations which I share.
The positives to date can’t be ignored either. Joel Matip could be the centre half we’re all wanting, Mane and Wijnaldum provide pace and goals from midfield that we didn’t have and confirmation Daniel Sturridge is undertaking a unique fitness programme can only be a positive. If we can keep Sturridge fit most of the season, he will score goals. If Ovie Ejaria, Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold haven’t brightened up your summer, then you need to have a good look at yourself.
None of the above points are guaranteed I appreciate but if you can’t be positive before the season begins, when can you be? The likes of Karius, Lucas Leiva and Joe Gomez will return and remember – it’s a long time until August 31st and we could be flush from departures. Not the best of weeks, but a little perspective is needed.