Injuries aren’t fun. They’re even less fun when they occur to the first-choice right back. They diminish in fun level from that when you send out your back-up on loan. It becomes downright impossible when your back-ups to the back-up are either injured or ended up suspended due to a sending off. Liverpool’s situation in this very specific position has been a bit of a quagmire to say the least.
Unfortunately, hopes of Jurgen Klopp’s preferred choice to man the right flank, Trent Alexander Arnold, being back and fit to close January won’t work out. In his pre-West Ham remarks, the gaffer indicated that the young England International is at least one week away from full training. This means that we can rule out an appearance for this Monday’s match and potentially the match following, when the Reds host Bournemouth.
“[Trent] is really close and I hope he is in full training next week, but not for Monday.”
And that is the sound of Reds supporters across the globe exhaling in resignation.
Still, not all is lost for the top-of-the-table Reds. Yes, the ad hoc approach to filling the void left behind by Trent Alexander Arnold has necessarily strained the cohesion of the club. But even watching the frustrating result against Leicester, it’s hard to be pushed towards a sense of panic or rage at this set of circumstances. It’s not ideal, sure, but this squad should be deep enough to man the fort for at least two more weeks before the young lad can reasonably be expected back.
In the mean time, Jurgen Klopp still has the option of running Fabinho at right back and continuing the integration of Naby Keita by, hopefully, using Fabinho’s absence from the midfield as another occasion to start the Guinean dynamo. Given that Naby had been growing into the match, this Reds fan is particularly hopeful that he gets more minutes. And even if Fabinho isn’t preferred at right back - and given the last few matches, there’s something to that - we can at least count on another turn in that spot from James Milner.
All told, even if it’s a bit of a delay, it’s still not too far off from where the expected return was. On to the next match, then, and hoping that TAA gets healthy with no other new injury scratches to follow.