Liverpool have put in their UEFA Champions League squad after Monday’s transfer deadline. It includes a couple of major injury hints.
We now know who Liverpool will turn to in the UEFA Champions League this season as they named their full squad. Understandably, there are a few additions.
Both Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak – the two new signings – make the list. In all truth, it would have been bizarre if they didn’t.
But they’re not the only new defenders, however. Nat Phillips, who didn’t make the squad for the group stages, gets a call-up.
So that’s three new defenders that Liverpool can turn on for the knockout stages.
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But while the additions are notable, the departures are the interesting thing here. They offer a big hint towards injury returns.
Takumi Minamino is out, of course. He’s now at Southampton for the rest of the season, after all.
But another name leaves the squad – Joel Matip. Now, Jurgen Klopp did announce this week that the player would miss the rest of the season.
In that sense, it’s not surprising he’s off the list. But he’s not the only injured centre-back.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered long-term injuries this season and haven’t played in months. Interestingly, however, both are in Liverpool’s Champions League squad.
Given the Reds were quick to leave out Matip, that’s a hint that either – or both – could return later in the campaign.
We imagine Liverpool would have to reach at least the semi-finals in order to ues them, though. Exit any earlier and there’s absolutely no chance.
We do wonder if there’s another thing at play here, however. Last year, the Champions League was delayed for six months – Liverpool could have built their squad with that in mind.
If football did face another halt, it could buy the time for both Gomez and Van Dijk to return. That may be all this is.
But it’s a hint, at the very least, that they’ll return long before Matip and could feature in a ‘normal’ Champions League campaign.