I daresay everyone has heard by now that Adam Lallana injured his thigh whilst playing for England and will be out for around a month, potentially missing six of the remaining nine games. I didn’t really think this was a particularly big deal until I noticed certain parts of the online community are acting as if our season is over. It is true that the absences of Coutinho, Mane and Henderson have cost us dear at different points of the season but I’m not so sure Liverpool are quite so vulnerable this time.

Why? It’s because of two reasons. Firstly, Lallana has mainly played in midfield this season and, fortunately, it looks like we should have adequate cover if Henderson returns this week, as planned. Secondly, the midfield options – Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Milner, Leiva, Grujic, Stewart and even Alexander-Arnold – all look to be in reasonable to good form. If Klopp can’t formulate a functioning midfield out of these players then really questions should be asked – this isn’t the bargain bucket selection we’ve had in previous seasons, there’s some decent talent here.

Where I can see a potential problem is with our creativity in the final third. Lallana’s quick feet and immaculate balance have given the side numerous openings from which to create goals. The issue will be who’s going to step up creatively in Lallana’s absence? Sturridge can’t even get onto the pitch at the moment, Coutinho’s form for club and country is a bit of a mystery (with the Liverpudlian Coutinho looking a shadow of the Brazilian Coutinho), Firmino’s form tends to fluctuate with that of Coutinho, and Origi is very much hit and miss. Our one saving grace is Mane but even he hasn’t regained his pre-ACN form. If we’re going to need a superhuman effort in the run-in it’s going to have to come from these players, not necessarily from a Lallana-less midfield that appears strong enough to cope.

Another issue that’s been raised widely is whether the England staff were responsible for Lallana’s injury. Footage of Lallana rubbing his thigh during halftime, before he went on to play in the second half against Lithuania, have exacerbated hostility towards the England camp (see below).

If we look at the cold facts I don’t believe the England setup were particularly culpable for Lallana’s situation. There were four days between the two England games, comparable with the Premier League schedule, so there should have been adequate time for recovery. If Lallana felt a twinge during the Lithuania game he should’ve let the England staff know – did he? If he didn’t then the responsibility for the injury lies with him. If he did then the question is did he say he felt good enough to play on or did the England staff tell him to play on? I find it hard to believe the England staff would persuade an injured Lallana to play on given the friction caused between Liverpool and England after the Sturridge injury debacle (something that occurred while Southgate was part of the England setup). If I was to make a guess based on probability I’d say Lallana more than likely felt a strain in his thigh and played on not realising the extent of the problem. He’s a player that clearly relishes playing for his country and there is currently a fair amount of competition in the squad. He may have let his heart overrule his mind in this instance.

Will Lallana’s absence cost Liverpool their season? It could, but in all honesty it shouldn’t. We’ve got enough quality available to put out a competitive team IF those players who know they’re underperforming find a little bit extra. The game against Everton should give us a fair indication of how the team will perform after Klopp has made his inevitable readjustments. Liverpool haven’t exactly followed the normal trends this season so all I’ll say is watch this space.

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warrior18
Member

Lallana will be missed, no doubt about that but like you say, we have enough strength in dept in midfield to cover, Can has been playing well the last few games so if hendo is back fit for saturday then no problems, Can, hendo and wijnaldum midfield, job done.
Even if hendo is not ready we should be ok, i would put milner in midfield with moreno at LB, i know moreno can’t defend but he’s dam good at going forward and in this game we have to attack from the start, so all in all, not overly concerned for the derby or the long run.

cfleejb
Member

This International injury is going to cost LFC especially if we fail to make it to the top 4 at the end of season; a lot of transfer targets will not even give L’pool a sniff if we don’t offer Champs league football.

sandiphulse
Member

Honestly, if we are going to loose a string of matches just because one talented midfielder will not be available, it’s a shame, time for the rest of the squad to step up, gruijic or Kevin Stewart can be used, i think klopp will manage

Huytonian
Member

Injuries are easier to cope with if they are spread throughout the team. Our problem seems be that when we get a spate of injuries they seem to be concentrated on one part of the team. I understand Henderson did not train today so it seems very unlikely he will be fit for Everton, so his loss along with Lallana will certainly affect our midfield in that game. Having said that Everton have more injury problems than we do with Coleman, Funes Mori and McCarthy all out and probably Schneiderlin as well so we cannot make it an excuse. I’m not sure who I would bring in – Coutinho could be dropped back with Origi playing up front or Grujic, Lucas or Alexander-Arnold could feature. I see some are suggesting Moreno to come with Milner moving into midfield and that is certainly a better option since Coleman had his leg broken (nasty challenge that was). Hopefully Henderson will be back for Bournemouth and he, Can and Wijnaldum looks a pretty strong midfield to me.

warrior18
Member

I read somewhere that hendo has been training all week mate so i included him in my match thread but apologies to all if i have that wrong.

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