Graeme Souness has hit out at Liverpool’s training methods after two more of their players picked up hamstring strains during Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Stoke in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.
Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren were both forced off before half-time, taking the number of Reds out with hamstring injuries to five, with a further three players also sidelined with other issues.
Coutinho clutched the back of his leg before asking to be replaced in the 18th minute at the Britannia Stadium, and centre-half Lovren followed the Brazilian off 16 minutes later with what looked like a similar problem.
But Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness doesn’t think the number of recent injuries are a coincidence.
“After 11 games, the guys who’ve been playing are match-fit,” the former Liverpool manager said after Tuesday’s semi-final.
“Some people can get there in three or four games, some need eight or nine, but after 11 games, if you’ve been playing regularly, you’re match-fit.
“A new manager comes in and all the chat was about high press further up the field. It’s hard work to do that for 90 minutes. You can do it in bursts. You can do it for an hour, you can do it for 70 minutes, but to do it for 90 minutes is a big demand on your legs.
“I just think they’ve fallen foul of that. It’s not a coincidence, five hamstrings. To have them all at one time, I think they have to look at what they’re doing in training.”
Summer signings Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are both out with ACL tears, with Souness commenting that hamstring injuries can be just as damaging.
“It’s the one that the players fear. The No 1 is the ACL – the anterior cruciate ligament – closely followed by a real tear of the hamstring, because you know that’s the one injury that kids you.
“You can train, you can get treatment, you can go out on the training ground and think you’re okay and then the minute you get into the real action it goes again. They go everywhere from a 10-dayer to a six-weeker and some of those will be six-weekers.”
Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the latest members on the Liverpool injury list, the Reds did win the game and have the Anfield advantage in a few weeks time.
“I think depending on the injuries, it could take its toll on the squad and I think Mark will go long in the second leg. Liverpool are a very hard team to beat in front of their own crowd. It’s advantage Liverpool but it’s very much game on.”