The fatigue problems engulfing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson look unlikely to be resolved this season, according to two leading pundits.
The Reds went almost four years without losing a Premier League game at Anfield. However, successive defeats to Burnley and Brighton have left Liverpool struggling to stay in title contention. Indeed, earlier this month Jurgen Klopp suggested a new, more realistic target for his players.
Klopp has stated that their injury problems, which have heaped the workload on those that remain fit, have contributed to their problems. That has been apparent in their usually attack-minded full-back pairing Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.
However, the duo have both been below their best at various stages this season. In fact, pundits Craig Burley and Steve Nicol can’t see the issues around their fatigue getting resolved any time soon.
Speaking on ESPN, Burley said: “It is no surprise that in Klopp’s system and in his way that he plays, the full-backs probably have to do the biggest shift.
“There might be some data that tells you a midfielder runs more on the odd occasion. But if you watch Liverpool over the last three years, those two boys in particular have run the whole length of the field and back for 90 minutes.
“That looks like it’s biting them in the backside now because they are getting up and down, but it’s laboured. And you can only ask people to do it for so often. There’s lots of reasons but I think that’s a big one.”
When asked how Klopp fixes the issue, Burley’s fellow pundit Nicol said: “If it’s a fatigue problem, it’s not going to be fixed. There isn’t time to recover, there isn’t time to rest people. They have to get on with it. They have to find a way.”
Klopp admits injury struggles
Liverpool were missing Sadio Mane and Alisson Becker on Wednesday, while Diogo Jota continues to miss out. Add into the mix the absence of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk and that is five likely starters Liverpool were forced to do without.
Indeed, the lengthy absence of so many stars appears to have taken its toll on Liverpool this season. Klopp also admits that the added workload on those that remain is probably catching up on his side.
“Brighton rightly so won the game, deserved. They were fresher than us, they did more good things than we did and we lost too many easy balls,” Klopp added.
“We didn’t create a lot, for me the team looked tonight, fatigued, mentally fatigued. That leads to not the best play as well.
“We were not fresh enough which means we were not good enough to break the formation of Brighton.”