There has been growing a worryingly lazy narrative that luck has very much been with Liverpool for the majority of the 2019/20 campaign.
Whether that be VAR controversy, lucky late goals or injuries, many opposing supporters have felt that everything has gone the Reds’ way throughout their record-breaking start to the season.
With 35 games already played this season for the world and European champions, the reality is that Jurgen Klopp has managed this oiled-winning machine of a team to perfection as Liverpool close in on the holy grail of a first league title since 1990.
After adding the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to their Champions League triumph in June, undoubtedly Liverpool have had their own fair share of injury setbacks. In fact, only Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Newcastle have had more in the Premier League at present.
Whilst all of Liverpool’s Premier League rivals have faltered in their pursuit of the runaway leaders, Klopp has had to manage his options acutely to ensure the squad is still sufficient enough to compete on all fronts.
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As plain sailing as the league table might suggest, it has actually been anything but for the Premier League champions-elect. You only have to rewind back to the first match of the season where an emphatic win against Norwich was made to feel bittersweet after Alisson Becker hobbled off inside 40 minutes following a calf problem – he was out of action for over two months.
Despite recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of action for over a year, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was finally beginning to rediscover his 2018 form before another awkward fall on the lower region ensured he finished another final leaving the stadium on crutches – he would go on to miss four matches.
Arguably the most substantial injury setback that threatened to derail Liverpool’s title charge was defensive midfielder Fabinho who missed the entire December period due to an ankle injury.
The Brazilian suffered ligament damage against Napoli in November and would miss the best part of two months as well as 13 matches in that time frame.
Naby Keita is another who has been riddled by injury throughout his Anfield tenure with the Guinean talisman failing to string together a run of games during his 18-month period on Merseyside.
The 24-year-old was in the form of his Liverpool career before another injury disintegrated any momentum initially gained after Keita pulled out during the warm-up against Sheffield United – injuries have forced him to miss 10 matches so far this season.
In case there were people who still thought Liverpool had squeezed out every drop of luck possible this season, Klopp was even forced to recall one of his youngsters from a loan spell in Germany following the loss of central defensive duo Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren as Nathanial Phillips returned to face Everton in the FA Cup victory before being loaned back to Stuttgart.
Liverpool may have established themselves as the most formidable force currently in club football but it has still come at a cost. Playing at the intensity Klopp demands is enough to sap the energy out of any elite level athlete and even a force as devestating as Liverpool is bound to feel the strain.
It is sometimes tempting to overlook what is in front of you at times and despite what rivals may claim, the reality is that Liverpool themselves have actually been no less fortunate than any other team this season.