Why Raymond the Fitness Egg isn’t laughing at Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool now we could have EVERY senior squad member available for Newcastle United clash on Saturday.
By James Pearce @ Liverpool Echo
Whisper it quietly, but the Melwood treatment room is a quiet place.
At a time when many of their rivals are feeling the strain after a gruelling seven months, Liverpool have got virtually a clean bill of health.
A virus ruled Gini Wijnaldum, Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn out of last weekend’s win over West Ham but they are set to be back in contention for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle.
Nathaniel Clyne, who has missed the entire season following back surgery, got through 90 minutes unscathed on his comeback for Liverpool Under-23s as he eyes a Premier League return.
Captain Jordan Henderson, who was left out as a precaution against the Hammers, has trained normally and is poised for a recall.
Remarkably, 40 matches into the campaign, Klopp could have every member of his first-team squad available to face Rafa Benitez’s side.
It’s not luck, it’s testament to Klopp’s rotation policy and the expertise of the club’s medical and sports science staff.
Much was made of the manager’s constant tinkering earlier in the season – he’s made more changes that any other top-flight boss.
Liverpool are reaping the rewards of Klopp’s approach which was designed to help ensure they lasted the pace both domestically and in the Champions League.
It makes a mockery of claims from Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen earlier this season that Klopp is some kind of dinosaur whose “outdated training methods” cause injuries by pushing players too far.
The former Wales assistant boss is a long-term critic of Klopp but he’s been strangely quiet about the German coach since he last stuck the boot in back in October.
In reality the stats prove that injuries have reduced considerably during Klopp’s reign.
The total number of days missed by Liverpool players due to soft tissue, preventable issues in 2016-17 was 144 – down from 623 the season before. There were three hamstring injuries last term compared to 17 in 2015-16.
Despite having the added demands of European football this season, the Reds have once again proved adept as keeping players fit and available.
Whisper it quietly and touch the nearest piece of wood, but Klopp’s squad is in rude health at a pivotal period.