Liverpool’s significant injury woes were added to ahead of Saturday’s victory over Southampton with a number of players being ruled out before the game.
The likes of Ozan Kabak, James Milner, Naby Keita and Ben Davies were all omitted from Jurgen Klopp’s squad with what the club described as “minor injury concerns”.
Whilst that in itself is not too worrying with the four hopefully recovering relatively quickly, any absences for Liverpool’s upcoming strenuous schedule could significantly harm their chances of gaining a place in the Premier League top four and with that, a UEFA Champions League place for next season.
It remains to be seen just how severe the issues are, with the specific nature of the problems remaining undisclosed.
However, with the Reds back in Premier League action as soon as Thursday evening against Manchester United, Klopp will certainly hope that at least some of those aforementioned players can return sooner rather than later.
The absences of Kabak, Milner and Keita are probably going to be the most felt.
Since arriving from Schalke in January, Kabak has become the Reds’ first-choice centre-back, following the injuries suffered by Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip earlier this season.
With him out though, the Reds were forced to play a defensive pairing of Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips against the Saints.
Whilst they earned a clean sheet, it is certainly not a set-up that Klopp will want to use regularly, especially in the race for the top four as Williams, in particular, was caught out a couple of times and was bailed out by his goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, with Milner and Keita out, joining Jordan Henderson on the sidelines, Klopp’s midfield choices are significantly reduced.
Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara are all certainly capable but then that just leaves Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones in reserve – a worrying lack of depth heading into a key final four games of the season.
Klopp then will certainly hope that the injury issues are nothing more than just minor to compound their woes any further but with their next game just a matter of days away, he’ll be concerned that his players seem to be dropping like flies as his side need to be pretty much perfect for the rest of the campaign.
An inability to properly rotate, added to the fact that Klopp is relying on essentially his 8th choice centre-back option in Williams, is a huge worry for the manager, one that could cost his side a top four finish.
AND in more news, find out which other Red gave Klopp a boost instead…