Rutwiz Kulkarni explains what Liverpool’s biggest test of the season will be after a tricky win over Stoke City.
Liverpool emerged victorious against Stoke City at Anfield on Tuesday, continuing their fantastic record at home where they are unbeaten now for almost a year. After a shaky start when Stoke took the lead in the 12th minute, the Reds fought back yet again and took all three points. Liverpool have kept themselves in contention for the title with almost half a year of football left in the season but they are yet to face their biggest test of the season.
We have often seen Liverpool surrender their hard work over the course of the season after a few injuries to some important players. They are not known to properly handle a run of fixtures in quick succession and their previous season is an example of this. Liverpool will be competing in the FA Cup as well as the League Cup in January.
The games will be coming thick and fast in the coming month and the Merseyside club must do things differently than they have done in the past to keep up with their competitors. They must be prepared if injuries strike during the coming months.
Liverpool, who currently sit second on the table, have been without Philippe Coutinho for a while now but they haven’t felt his absence with the likes of Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Divock Origi stepping up. This is a welcomed change as Liverpool has struggled to replace an injured player with personnel of equal ability in the past.
And with the Reds without Sadio Mane during the upcoming run of fixtures, they must replace him with a player of similar attributes. Liverpool’s options up front are aplenty but there is a shortage of alternatives when it comes to players out wide. Although Roberto Firmino can be deployed in a wide position, he doesn’t look as comfortable as when he plays upfront.
A couple of injuries to the attacking players will leave Liverpool short of attacking options. On its day, the defence appears to be rock solid but on a couple of occasions, it’s been disastrous. Matip has been in and out of the team with injuries and another injury to a defender will hurt the Reds which they can’t afford at this stage of the season.
Jürgen Klopp’s side has been exceptional this season and deserves all the praise that has coming flooding in from pundits and opposition coaches. They have worked hard on their weaknesses and have fought their way through most of the challenges and with proper management, they should ensure that a few injuries don’t hurt in the crucial period of the season. With the transfer window approaching, the 18 times league title winners will be hopeful of strengthening their options.