It’s never a good sign when your captain clutches his hamstring and has to come out of a big match ten minutes after the whistle, and sure enough, Liverpool will now have another key injury to grapple with during this frenetic run of holiday season matches. Already dealing with the prolonged absence of the revitalized Alberto Moreno, Jürgen Klopp’s side will also need to find cover in the middle of the park now that skipper Jordan Henderson has definitively been ruled out for Swansea’s visit on Boxing Day.
“The problem is that Hendo will not feature for sure, he is out,” said Klopp in the wake of that not-at-all-eventful 3-3 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates. “That makes it even worse . . . because so far we were really OK with this kind of injury and now it happened in the middle of the [busy] period, or whatever.”
The “busy” period, to put it mildly, involves a run of three matches within a week, starting with Swansea on Tuesday, followed by a Saturday visit from Leicester City - who snatched a dramatic point versus Manchester United this weekend - and then a New Year’s Day trip to Burnley. Under normal circumstances, it would be a slate of contests from which Liverpool might reasonably expect full points, but with injuries and fatigue accumulating, it would be unwise to make assumptions at this stage.
Given the nature of the suspected injury, as well as the fact that the club have been reticent about announcing a return date for Henderson, it seems likely that the midfielder will be absent for this particular stretch, and will possibly miss more time once the calendar flips over to 2018. Henderson’s absence may have knock-on effects elsewhere, as James Milner may see more minutes in the middle, which in turn might mean that Andy Robertson gets a consistent run during Moreno’s absence. We might even see Marko Grujić again before Klopp puts him back in a box.