With the Africa Cup of Nations taking place in January, Liverpool have always known they were going to be out of breath in January.
Losing Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita against continental competition was inevitable.
Still, you can imagine the Reds never contemplated being as stripped down as they have been in recent weeks, even after last year’s injury crisis at center-back.
Jurgen Klopp had to make the most of the club’s academy to fill his full squad for the day due to an ever-growing injury list, with a suspicion of the Covid-19 outbreak, which resulted in the training cancellation and the shutdown of AXA training center, causing one of their most inexperienced squad sheets to date when Liverpool faced Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup last week.
The fact that Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diogo Jota are the only players in Klopp’s squad who have not missed games due to injury, illness (Covid-19 or other), suspension or international service so far this season, highlights exactly what selection issues the Reds have had to juggle.
And even then, this latest duo went missing against the Shrews for unconfirmed reasons.
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With Tyler Morton used perhaps more frequently than Liverpool would have liked this season due to such absences, it’s no surprise that with the January transfer window open, fans are keen to see the Reds squad reinforced.
They felt this in the summer when Konate was the only newcomer and Gini Wijnaldum was not replaced, they felt this after seeing player after player get knocked for one reason or another during the campaign up to now and they’ve felt that way by dropping 11 points behind league leaders Man City in the Premier League table.
Their departures from CAN and those absent from Covid-19 only accentuated such a feeling.
Still, don’t expect Liverpool to move in the transfer window this month unless their situation worsens significantly.
After all, as it stands, Harvey Elliott is currently the only sidelined player likely to still be unavailable in February, with the majority of his absentees being short-term.
Yes, they made late moves in the January transfer window of last year to sign Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, but only after Joel Matip joined Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to be kicked out of the season, none of the two signings not having proved particularly successful.
And the one time Klopp has sought to cover for a short-term lack of players, that day in January 2016 when Steven Caulker signed on loan, he later admitted publicly that he acted hastily by signing the defender. .
Suffering from a defensive injury crisis at the time, the Reds found themselves with veteran Kolo Touré as the only senior center-back option available with Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho all sidelined.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva was tasked with filling an unknown role as a short-term fix, while lesser-spotted Tiago Ilori and unwelcome left-back Jose Enrique had been center-back days before Caulker’s arrival against Exeter City in the FA Cup. .
But a few weeks later, Klopp had a plethora of options.
“Now we have too many center-backs,” conceded the Reds boss ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Manchester United in March.
“The day before the establishment of the workforce list, we had none. Now we have too many and you think, “My God, what have we done? “
“It was the thing we had to do at the time. Now we have to move on to the next round with the players we have. “
Caulker has only made four appearances during his time at Liverpool, totaling just four minutes in the Premier League, with the defender infamously used as a makeshift striker every time.
His only departure, and his only appearance at center-back, came in an FA Cup draw with West Ham United in late January, while two unused substitute appearances in February were the closest they were to he managed to perform for the remainder of his acting career with the Reds. .
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Klopp preferring to work with a smaller squad, Caulker’s ill-fated signing suggests he won’t look to bolster his squad again this month unless the desired player is part of his long-term plans, regardless of absentees. .
Liverpool may be missing Salah and Mane now, but they won’t be in February.
Numbers may be limited in the midfield, but they have nine recognizable options in the engine room when everyone is in good shape. And it could easily be the case again before the final weeks of the season.
Klopp has been burned before acting hastily in the transfer window and will resist doing it again.
While the Reds team may be a little short on numbers right now, that won’t be for long.
And while further injuries and maybe even cases of Covid-19 are likely by the end of the season, Klopp clearly has confidence in his already-made Liverpool squad to successfully overcome any twists left on their side. path.