Damon Savenelli wonders how Liverpool’s season would have been different had it not been for injuries to key players.
Sadio Mané, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, the list goes on and on and on.
We have, without a doubt, had some pretty harsh injury issues this season. I would say probably the worst out of the entirety of the top six. Obviously, we all expect a few injuries throughout the course of a season. It is football, it is a long season. Things happen.
But the number of long-term injuries that have befallen some of our best players has been a bit ridiculous. We lost Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, and Philippe Coutinho to long term injuries at different points this season.
We all saw what happened when a key player was missing from our starting 11. When Philippe Coutinho sustained an injury to his ankle, our attack struggled to find its flow. When Jöel Matip missed out due to his recurring ankle injury, our defence struggled to hold strong. When Adam Lallana suffered a thigh injury that kept him sidelined for weeks, our midfield lacked creativity.
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Just think what would happen to Chelsea lost N’Golo Kante to injury. None of the other top six teams have lost as many key players for an extended period of time throughout this campaign.
If you think about it, our strongest starting 11 has rarely taken the field together this season. Every few weeks, a significant player is missing.
It may be considered an excuse, but I genuinely believe that we could have mounted a title challenge if not for our injury issues. Just look at what we have accomplished with certain players.
Lucas at centre back, Adam Lallana on the wing. Just think about all of the times that a player has had to be played out of position. As well as when a significantly weaker player has had to fill in.
This point has been discussed before but I just want to reiterate. Look at where we have landed up with our injury issues. Our normal bench has been littered with inexperienced teenagers. Our squad depth is already atrocious compared to the other top six sides. Add the worst injury crisis sustained by a top six side and it amazes me that we have done this well.
It genuinely scares me to think what we could have accomplished if Klopp was able to name a full-strength starting 11 almost every week.
Klopp said about a month back that “[he] think[s] we can all agree that if we could have played our first 12 or 13 for the whole season, and we are only six, seven, eight points away from the very interesting region of the table.”
I fully agree.
I do not think it is an excuse, it is just a fact. Not many teams can say that they play better football than us when we have a full strength team.
Now is not a time to sulk and think about the “what ifs.” I still think that we have had a successful season.
It will be very interesting, as well as exciting, to see what we are capable of once we add some quality depth to our bench.