Football News

How Liverpool’s unrivalled PL depth could save them as Klopp sweats “worst” injury

By Squawka News

Published: 11:20, 18 February 2024

A 4-1 victory away from home at a stadium where you’ve never won before should have been cause for celebration for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

However, Saturday lunchtime’s thrashing of Brentford — inspired by goals from Darwin Nunez, Alexis Mac Allister, the returning Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo — was tainted by not one, not two, but three players forced to withdraw due to injury.

First, Curtis Jones limped from the field after losing out in a 50-50 challenge and seemingly going over on his ankle, with Ryan Gravenberch replacing the English midfielder after just 34 minutes.

Next, it was the in-form Diogo Jota who, just five minutes after setting up Nunez for the opener, was stricken, with the Portugal international feeling the weight of Christian Norgaard landing on top of him at a very awkward angle. Jota, worryingly, even required a stretcher.

Finally, it was the scorer of the opening goal himself, Nunez, who was withdrawn at half-time.

There appears to be varying degrees of concern surrounding the trio, but given this is a Liverpool squad already coping without the likes of Alisson, Dominik Szoboszlai, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago, Klopp can ill afford further setbacks. Especially given that up next is a busy seven days that sees the Reds play Luton in the Premier League, travel to Wembley to face Chelsea in the EFL Cup final, and then host Southampton in the FA Cup.


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“We have to see how much it costs us – we don’t know that yet,” Klopp said of the injuries after the match.

“Curtis got a knock on the lower part of his shin, or above the ankle. We will see what that means. It was what he felt, but he was not 100 per cent sure. That Curtis cannot play on tells you that it must be something because he would have played on at all costs.

“Diogo looks probably the worst; I didn’t see it back but I heard the pictures didn’t look great as well, so we have to see there.

“Darwin, we took off because he felt really a little [something] but that was obviously today enough to immediately push the brake and that’s what we did, so we took him off.”

Klopp can, at least, take solace in the return of Salah from an injury sustained at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Egyptian remains Liverpool’s talisman but hadn’t featured for them before Saturday since January 1. However, within 24 minutes of entering the field, Salah had set up Mac Allister for Liverpool’s second and added their third to effectively finish the game. That’s 15 goals and nine assists for Salah in the Premier League this season in just 21 appearances.

“He [Salah] is amazing. I am very happy for him,” Mac Allister told TNT Sports in a post-match interview. “He has been out and a little bit frustrated about it but he came back and in just a couple of minutes, scored and assisted.

“He is an amazing player and a great leader and an important player for us.”

Of course, even if Nunez and Jota face an extended spell on the sidelines, Salah is still joined by Gakpo as the fourth Liverpool player to hit 10+ goals across all competitions this season; they’re the only Premier League team to reach that number. What’s more, Colombian winger Luis Diaz is also on the verge of joining that group with nine goals to his name so far.

That, alongside being able to field the likes of Gravenberch, Mac Allister and Wataru Endo in a midfield possibly missing Szoboszlai, Jones and Thiago, is a testament to the incredible depth Klopp now has at his disposal. Even if all the Reds’ current injury worries remain sidelined at Wembley next week, you would find it hard to argue against them remaining favourites ahead of Chelsea.