When you’re cantering towards the Premier League title in quite remarkable fashion, injuries aren’t exactly the end of the world.
Liverpool find themselves a whopping 19 points clear of Manchester City in second, and could extend that gap even further when they take on West Ham on Monday evening.
But one man who Jurgen Klopp will of course have to do without, is Jordan Henderson. The Reds boss confirmed that having been forced off late on in the Champions League last 16 clash against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, the club captain will “miss three weeks or so”.
Naturally, Henderson’s absence will be somewhat of a blow as Liverpool look to retain their European crown, and also make an assault on the FA Cup too. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another door opens. And Naby Keita could well be the man to step through.
The Guinea international has endured a really tough campaign this year for the Merseyside outfit, playing just 17 times across all competitions. The 25-year-old has had some wretched luck with niggling injuries, and he only returned from a recent groin strain in the 2-0 win over West Ham late in January.
And with Liverpool doing so well, Klopp naturally would have been reluctant to make any serious changes to his starting line-up heading into the business end of the season. However, now that Henderson has been ruled out for the foreseeable future at least, there is a massive chance for Keita to really stake his claim that he is deserving of a longer run in the team.
The £37.8m-rated ace can emerge from the shadows and lay down a marker, not just for this season, but for his Anfield career as a whole. When everyone is fully fit and firing, the midfielder will have a major job on his hands to convince Klopp that he is the man to trust. It is exactly why he must take his chance over the coming weeks with both hands.
Circumstances have dictated that Keita could be the man to benefit the most from Liverpool’s Henderson setback. Now it’s up to him to deliver on the goods.