As Liverpool crashed to their third defeat in five games, manager Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media after the game and hinted that injuries were giving them a problem this season.
“It’s not quite happening for us at the moment.
“It’s a number of things. We’ve shown potential when we have key players fit. With those guys unavailable, it hurts us.”
Currently without Daniel Sturridge, Emre Can, Joe Allen and Glen Johnson, Liverpool may feel that injuries are impacting them heavily this season – but that is only because they were so blessed last season when it came to picking up crocked players.
Compared to others in the league this season, Liverpool have suffered fewer injuries than Manchester United, Newcastle United and Arsenal. Their injury rate so far is almost identical to that of West Ham, the side they lost to at the weekend.
Enjoying the luxury of mostly playing only once a week last season, Liverpool were able to benefit from the lack of football afforded to them by failing to qualify for Europe.
Their squad avoided the vicious circle that can be produced by failing to have enough time to allow players to recover between matches which puts additional strain on players leading to more injuries resulting in for others being overused.
In fact, they suffered around 54% of the injuries Arsenal suffered last season, 80% when compared to Manchester United but more than Manchester City and Chelsea to the tune of 10% and 44% respectively.
This season, however, it could be argued that Liverpool’s only real loss at the minute is Daniel Sturridge. Emre Can is new and Glen Johnson much derided by his own fans. Joe Allen has, in his Anfield career to date, not really made himself integral to the squad.
Rodgers’ nod towards injuries as being a reason they have struggled so far this season is misleading. While there is no arguing that Sturridge could well have made a difference, Liverpool have lost both their league games without him and struggled to overcome Ludogorets in the Champions League, clubs at the top level must be able to cope without the loss of one key player.
Rodgers also pointed towards the ‘potential‘ Liverpool have shown this season, however after going so close in the league last season and finally returning to Europe, it could be argued that they are at a point where they should not be talking about ‘potential’ and should be looking to build on what they achieved last season.