Liverpool injury crisis | Bad luck or bad judgement?

Greetings and salutations fellow Nesters, I trust we're all enthralled and abundantly entertained by the international break.....

Sadly it's not all fun, fun, fun - yesterday brought news of yet another injury to one of our players. This time Joe Gomez and early reports suggest it's a serious knee problem. Possibly even season ending. Where does this leave us?

Yes that's right, not for the first time this season, we've hit dire straights and although we've recently considered this when Virgil was struck down, a fair question to ask again is as follows.

Are all these injuries plain bad luck, or did we start our title defence with a very poorly judged roll of the dice? Let's consider both sides of the motion. Before doing so though, we of course wish Gomez a very speedy recovery.

For

After selling Lovren we began this season with just three senior centre-backs: Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip. For me this was a risk too high to take and I'll detail why.

Over the prior four seasons Matip has missed 60 games due to injury. There are roughly 40 weeks in a season, equating to 160 weeks over that period which means he wasn't available 37.5% of the time.

In other words, for every ten games we play, Matip is out due to injury in about four of them. Surely these odds which are consistent over a long enough period to suggest they're representative of the norm, make it very clear it wasn't if Matip got injured but when.

And what does that mean? It means we started the season knowing within the first ten games we'd probably lose him and that in turn means we basically began the season with two centre-backs!

But our poor judgement didn't stop there because over the same four prior seasons Gomez missed 97 games due to injury. Some slack can be cut in highlighting those absences were mostly due to two serious injuries rather than a spate of more minor ones like Matip's.

However the fact remains Gomez doesn't appear to be the most robust player and it's a stretch to say it was reasonable to start a title defending season reliant on two centre-backs, one being him.

We do have some additional cover in the form of Nate Phillips and Rhys Williams but the former was never really in our game plan and the latter was unproven and in my view too young to be factored in for anything other than occasional use.

Against

These points have been raised in previous Nest article's comments and they're very good ones but enough to justify us not replacing Lovren?....

We're seeing more injuries due to the havoc Covid has played on fixtures etc.

The right player may not have been available.

Centre-backs normally play as a settled pairing and so it's hard to keep four of them happy when half have to be benched much of the time.

Van Dijk never or rarely gets injured so we have been unlucky there.

We've some great cover available from elsewhere on the pitch principally via Fabinho but also Henderson and Milner can step in when needed.

Those are all very fair and valid views but for me they don't swing the balance.

As league, European and World champions we can attract players far easier now than in recent seasons and so should have been able to find someone to sign.

Admittedly Covid has had an impact on football as a whole but these injury issues have existed for a long time and I don't feel our current defensive woes are related to the pandemic as such.

We have been unlucky to see Van Dijk get seriously injured, I concede that much but he was always going to pick up an injury at some point and we were pushing our luck not factoring that in.

And lastly, I do agree we have cover from the likes of Fabinho but knowing you're almost certainly going to need to use one of your best midfielders in defence is not a good way to start a new season.

I'm still confident we'll find a way to prevail but believe we've made it far harder work than it needed to be and feel we now must do in January what we should have done this summer - buy a new defender

What do you think about our current injury situation and how we've found ourselves there? 

Please cast your vote and put forth your agreeing or counter points in the comments.



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