Dave Davis writes that Liverpool’s medical staff deserves credit for recent results as their brilliant work behind the scenes continues to pay dividends for the Reds.
Liverpool have taken considerable stick for the club’s injury record in recent times, with some even trading on their own version of events.
Looking at recent history though and the progress of some players, it looks as though the medical staff isn’t getting the credit they deserve.
Aside from Danny Ings, no-one can claim they’ve been unluckier with injuries than Joe Gomez. The 20-year-old suffered an ACL injury in 2015 which kept him out for the long-term, then damaged his Achilles in 2016 when he was on the comeback trail.
It would break many but under Klopp’s guidance, Gomez made changes and focused more on mobility than power.
Gomez said: “There is only so much power and strength you need. The main thing is to be mobile, especially when you’re playing at full-back. It’s more important to be able to get up and down. It was a positive that I was able to adapt. This pre-season felt like a fresh start for me.”
A fresh start added to the captaincy of England would put a spring in the step of any youngster. A couple of Premier League starts and an assist against Arsenal would leave anyone on top of the world.
It can’t be forgotten though that Gomez can’t have done it all himself and the medical team at Liverpool has to be praised for their efforts. An ACL and damaged Achilles has seen the end of many players before.
The skipper has been quick to praise the medical team too for the work they’ve done. Less than twelve months ago, a heel injury was hugely impacting Jordan Henderson’s movement and questions were asked about how he would return. Currently, the Liverpool and England team skipper has started every game as the Reds have had a promising start to the season.
Hendo said: “The physio came with us. I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything so when I came back for pre-season I was fine and all that work paid off. He came to make sure I am doing the right things and to treat me, just so I could get a little break in the summer. And when we go on the beach, he comes with us. Sometimes, if he wants to. I might even get him an ice-cream!”
You hope the skipper sprang for an extra flake, bits and raspberry with support like that.
Aside from rehab with England’s leaders, other players have benefited from the medical team’s expertise. Sadio Mané looks even better than last season after a summer of rehab at the club following his surgery.
Daniel Sturridge admits he’s in the best physical shape of his life and his goal against Arsenal must have been pleasing for everyone. Emre Can also looks to have moved to a new level, which wouldn’t have been easy considering his time at the Confederations Cup this summer. Praise must also go to the likes of Andreas Kornmayer and co. here too.
The other points that often get ignored over recent times are the actual facts themselves. In the 2016/17 season, there was a 63% reduction in non-contact soft-tissue injuries based on the previous season, and nearly 500 days fewer missed from training due to these injuries compared to the 2015/16 season.
Last season, the club had just three hamstring injuries in which the players missed a combined total of 72 days. Hamstring injuries are part and parcel of modern football, despite what others may claim too.
Jürgen Klopp’s side is praised for their all action performances and it’s telling that many of those mentioned look to be in the shape of their lives. That wouldn’t fit with the agenda of many though, so will naturally go unsaid.
Results on the pitch are only achieved with the preparation off it. The efforts of the club’s medical team seem to be paying real dividends for everyone right now.