Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool squad that no player is indispensable following Luis Diaz’s arrival.
Since winning the Premier League in 2020, the Reds have been plagued by injuries, losing players like Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Jordan Henderson to season-ending injuries last year before being consistently weakened in midfield this season.
A Covid-19 epidemic among the club before the festive period, as well as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita’s mid-season departure to the Africa Cup of Nations did not help the situation.
However, following the return to training this week of Harvey Elliott, Thiago Alcantara, and Divock Origi, Klopp now finds himself in a situation where Liverpool’s roster might be injury-free in the not-too-distant future.
And, following the signing of Luis Diaz from FC Porto last month, and ahead of Salah and Mane’s return to the AXA Training Centre next week following the Africa Cup of Nations final, Klopp has admitted that some of his star players may be forced into unfamiliar substitute roles in the second half of the season and beyond.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said; “I’m not sure competition is exactly the word I want in this kind of moment,” he told reporters ahead of the Reds’ FA Cup clash with Cardiff City. “We are one big team, we are one squad.
“If you play for Liverpool, you have a lot of good things you can expect and some things are different than when you play for other clubs.
“Here at Liverpool, we have to win each game. That’s how it is. Unfortunately, we don’t do that but that doesn’t mean we are allowed to lose the next one as well.
“For this we need brilliant players and these boys, over the last few years, have done an absolutely incredible job. With ‘competition’ in different positions, it forced them and stretched their limits. It’s absolutely unbelievable the development they had.
“We didn’t bring in different players to create competition, we brought in players to have solutions in different situations. That means the boys have to deal with it now, that’s the job they have to do.
“It means if you’re in the first line-up, run your socks off and play as well as you can for as long as you can. If you can’t do that anymore, another player has to be there who can replace and do the same job, and, if possible, even better because he is fresher. That is the idea behind it.”
He continued: “A season is really long and we’ve suffered so much from injuries in the last few years. Hopefully it will not be the case now anymore.
“If it happens, we should be better prepared. If it doesn’t happen, then we have a situation where players will be on the bench who expect to play and players will not be in the squad who expect to be on the bench.
“These kinds of situations you never have for long, but sometimes you will have the completely normal situation we’ve had before, not too often, unfortunately, and we will have it in the future. Footballers are used to that.
“If there is a player who can play the same position as yourself in quite an impressive way, yeah, you better perform!
“My job is not to stick with the boys as much as I like them, as much I owe them, as much as we’ve gone through together. My job is to go line up the best team for today, not for yesterday.
“The more top-class options we have, the better it is for the club and hopefully that’s the situation.”