Two injuries cost Liverpool in their UEFA Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. They were as poorly timed as possible.
Liverpool went into the game 1-0 down and needing to score at least two to secure victory. They got their first before half-time – a wonderful header from Gini Wijnaldum squared things up.
The 90 passed without any more goals, despite Liverpool’s dominance. Jan Oblak was fantastic in goal for the visitors, while Adrian remained untested.
And when Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in front, the game appeared settled. Things changed quickly, however, as two injuries took their toll.
The first was obvious – the Reds missed Alisson Becker in goal. Adrian, who really hadn’t had much to do all game, gave the ball away with a sloppy pass. He didn’t cover himself in glory for Marco Llorente’s shot, either, as he failed to set himself in time.
Both errors highlighted Alisson’s absence. He’s quite possibly the best goalkeeper in the world, after all, and you can count on him.
But another trait of Alisson’s is his ability to go long periods without doing anything and still perform when he has to. Adrian doesn’t excel at that – it’s not a skill everyone has.
And Atletico’s third goal owes a lot to an injury, too. As the team tired, Jordan Henderson appeared to feel the effects of his lack of match-fitness. For someone who is usually one of the fittest and most durable players around, he was very leggy and unable to get back to properly deal with Llorente.
It wasn’t really a surprise that Jurgen Klopp replaced him with Fabinho just minutes later.
You have to imagine that a fully-fit Henderson deals with that third goal. Maybe he’d have had a better starting position, maybe he’d have got back quicker – either way, he looked tired.
And so a lot of Liverpool’s defeat to Atletico can be put down to injuries and misfortune. The timing was poor and while the defeat certainly wasn’t purely because of the injuries, they certainly played a part.