Liverpool’s defensive line is getting thinner and thinner – and soon there will be no more midfielders left. The experts VG has spoken to believe that Liverpool’s injury list means that the battle for Premier League gold is now wide open.
Jürgen Klopp’s men were superior last season when Liverpool took their first league gold in 30 years. The red shirts from Merseyside took a full 99 points, and won by 18 points down to table runners-up Manchester City.
They went into the 2020/21 season as big favorites, but the brutal start to the season has meant that the favorite stamp, to a certain extent, is gone.
Virgil van Dijk was injured after a terrifying tackle by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby. In the same match, Joel Matip picked up a bang, and in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Midtjylland, Fabinho picked up an injury:
The experts VG has spoken to believe that November will be a defining month for Jürgen Klopp and his Liverpool.
– That van Dijk was injured was in itself a disaster. Then Fabinho is also injured. It is clear that they are greatly reduced, says VG’s football expert Tor-Kristian Karlsen.
– It can be “black November” for the reds. It is serious for Liverpool, and puts the whole season in danger, says TV 2 commentator Øyvind Alsaker.
Now tough matches are coming on the assembly line for the reigning league champion. On Saturday, West Ham, who recently took points from Manchester City, are waiting before dangerous Atalanta wait in the Champions League. They will then face Manchester City and Leicester, before Atalanta are again in the opposite half of the field.
van Dijk could lose the entire season with the injury he suffered after Pickford’s insulted tackle. It is uncertain how long Matip may be out, while Fabinho probably suffered an injury in the hoarding. This can – at best – mean three or four weeks on the sidelines. This means that Klopp only has Joe Gomez of pure first-team stoppers at his disposal.
For a ball-playing team like Liverpool, it is not just defensive challenges that come with losing so many regular players.
– I do not envy Klopp and the sports apparatus of Liverpool at all in the task of solving this.
– You have to build up the attacks in a completely different way, and the mechanisms and relationships that you are so well used to, they disappear. There are big challenges, and the stopping place is, from experience, the most difficult position to find someone new in. This complicates the season for Liverpool terribly much. The van Dijk injury was the result of a tackle, but as we see with Fabinho: Stress injuries are starting to come, and it is terribly difficult for clubs to know how much you can actually burden players in the match program that is now, says Karlsen.