Liverpool would have ‘probably’ won the Premier League had it not been for injuries this season, according to Jose Enrique.
Jurgen Klopp’s squad has been decimated to its core this season, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all sustaining season-ending injuries.
Jordan Henderson, too, has recently been blighted by an eight-week lay-off on the sidelines following a groin problem.
Liverpool’s players this season have missed a collective total of 178 Premier League matches between them, compared to other rivals such as Leicester (121), Manchester United (109), Manchester City (93), Tottenham (68), West Ham (63) and Chelsea (50).
Enrique on injuries
Enrique feels that such a barren spell of injury setbacks have been the definitive reason why Liverpool’s Premier League title defence is all-but over.
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“Liverpool’s players have missed a cumulative total of 178 PL games between them, compared to other leading teams such as Leicester (121), Manchester United (109), Manchester City (93), Tottenham (68) West Ham (63) and Chelsea (50),” he wrote, per Instagram.
“That’s why we are where we are because I really believe if we have the full squad available we will be fighting for the premier title and probably win it.”
What RTK has to say
Enrique is right. While the mood at Liverpool was lifted by progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, there is still the acceptance that domestic events are unacceptable.
Many have been critical of the Reds’ title defence in recent weeks, particularly, Roy Keane, who labelled Liverpool as ‘bad champions’.
Still, there’s a noticeable difference between excuses and explanations from a Liverpool perspective. Losing all three of your centre-backs to season-ending injuries is unprecedented.
There have been so many mitigating factors that have all contributed to Klopp and his team falling heavily off the pace this term.
Whether it’s been the absence of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield, the influence of the front-three or why Thiago Alcantara is yet to light the Premier League, the reality is that a mountain of problems have stacked up against Liverpool all season.
Let’s not forge,t either, that Manchester City also lost nine games last season with the absence of Aymeric Laporte. They finished 18 points behind Liverpool.
City weren’t ‘bad champions’ then and neither are the current reigning champions of England. Indeed, it’s become a farce attributing Liverpool’s problems this season solely down the injury, but at times it’s important not to shy away from painful realities.
As Enrique eluded to previously, with a fully-fit squad, Liverpool will be fighting on all cylinders again soon.