At the end of the first week of January, Liverpool found themselves in the midst of a potential crisis of depth. Joel Matip was injured, Joe Gomez had still been out, and then Dejan Lovren went down due to injury. That left only Virgil Van Dijk and, in a pinch, Fabinho, as the only senior center backs available. Anxiety swept through fans all across the Liverpool Country and when Trent Alexander-Arnold came up limping two weeks ago, that turned into a - wait for it - red alert.
Many of us took that time to point out - reluctantly and not without our own anxieties, mind - that Liverpool’s schedule looked to break a bit favorably. That the Reds’ ousting from the FA Cup was a minor blessing in disguise. That, yes, it was unfortunate to allow Nathaniel Clyne to go on loan just before TAA went down, but that it should all work out.
Two wins now logged since this time and a mini-break of sorts this week while the rest of England are dealing with cup ties later, it appears that it has in fact all worked out with news from the official site that Dejan Lovren has resumed full training. Commence collective sigh of relief, Reds.
The report hasn’t confirmed entirely that Dejan is 100% a lock for the next match against Leicester City on Wednesday, but Klopp’s own comments seem to make that all but a formality:
“Dejan is important. How it looks at the moment, we came through our centre-half ‘crisis’ at least.”
And there you have it. Dejan is fit. Joel Matip is fit. Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho - scratches from training earlier in the week due to illness - are fit. And even Ben Woodburn has been included in full training after acquiring knocks recently.
The thing I’m learning about depth as it relates to a club like Liverpool who hope to compete across all competitions is that it always looks like there’s either too much depth or too little. And while I would not relish going through a period like we did over the past few months for a prolonged stretch, I think we have to recognize that it was also a bit fluke-y. Sure, flukes can cost people the title, but running and operating a team to account for flukes is not exactly great stewardship.
Klopp and company took what looked to be a nervy moment and guided the club through it with as much success as we can hope for. Now, it’s time for the club to take their re-discovered depth and continue to turn up the pressure on their league rivals by setting the pace at the top of the table. Oh, and also, please do avoid more injuries in the process for the sake of our collective blood pressure.