Former Liverpool first-team physio Richie Partridge has given a snapshot of life working with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, as he revealed the German has an influence on every corner of the club.
One-time Liverpool academy product Partridge saw his career cut short by injury, but he made a big impression working with Klopp’s first team prior to his move to work with the Qatari FA last month.
After working his way through the ranks of the medical staff at Liverpool before he was promoted to the Klopp’s first-team backroom staff in 2016, Partridge went on to experience how Klopp works as a man manager.
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, he revealed Klopp should not be underestimated on the knowledge he has when it comes to the needs of his players, and how best to avoid any major injuries.
“Don’t underestimate the role of the manager in the medical side of the club, especially at Liverpool,” Partridge said.
“Jurgen Klopp has vast experience under his belt and he understands how this all works and his assessment on whether players are tired is part of our daily analysis of a player.
“You then need luck for players to avoid injuries, but you can help them in that ambition, but we are also fortunate to have great players at the club right now.
“The facilities that we have to monitor players now has changed the way everything is done.
“We can monitor every step a player takes in training, assess whether they are being under-trained or over-trained and that allows us to gauge whether they are pushing themselves to a point where they may pick up an injury.”
With all top-level athletes trying to extend their career by any means possible and having world-leading equipment available to them at their door-step, players have changed their approach as they look to gain an advantage as they strive to reach peak fitness levels.
“The internet is a wonderful resource to find out about medical issues and while it might not always be accurate, these lads have experience from working with other highly trained physios at their previous clubs and they stay in touch with them and get advice when they need it,” Partridge added.
“They want the best for them and as a medical department at Liverpool, we don’t have a problem if players get advice from elsewhere if they are injured.”
Partridge also opened up on how advice is tailored to each Liverpool player based on their specific needs.
“We monitor everything, and every player is different. We monitor how long they sleep, the quality of their sleep, muscle fatigue, every sprint they do, their heart rate, every set they take.
“What works for Virgil van Dijk might not work for Bobby [Roberto] Firmino and it’s up to the sports science staff and the management team to come up with the best programme for each player.
“If you have a player like Virgil van Dijk, he will be making a lot less sprints in a game than a normal defender because he is so good at reading the game and rarely gets himself into a position where his body is under stress and may break.
“Then you look at Sadio Mane and he has four times more sprints in-game and maybe he is more susceptible to injuries, as we have seen in the last couple of weeks.
“You might treat someone in the first team differently to an 18-year-old, who maybe can skip a couple of games. These senior guys are willing to play through the pain barrier and they will put themselves on the line, especially for a big game.
“That desire is one of the reasons why they are at the top of their game. They put their team first and stopping top players from playing in games is a tough task.”
By Matthew Owen