Here's the good news. I know, right? That blast of hot air was sumptuous. Now for the bad news. Forget about Divock Origi for the rest of the month. Maybe you can plan on making him your darling Valentine, but with Liverpool's luck with injuries, prepare to be disappointed. Maybe Daniel Sturridge will make an appearance before January expires, and don't forget about Christian Benteke. All those months ago, did you ever think that that Danny Ings would be missed so dearly?
Divock Origi, according to the reliable Paul Joyce, was at Melwood yesterday. On crutches. After a minor knee operation on Friday. In Belgium. Recovery will be around four weeks. Sigh. Sigh again. Sigh some more. You might be wondering about that hamstring injury Origi suffered against Leicester City on 26 December, but it wouldn't be Liverpool if recovering from injuries was a straightforward process. A mid-February return puts Origi's absence near the two-month mark.
Guess what? Origi was supposed to return against Arsenal or Manchester United this week. Something awry in the 20-year-old's knee must have been detected, forcing a decision to clear it up immediately as the player was already out injured. What's even funnier (well, not really) was I was thinking about what to write about for this particular slot, wondering whether it would be some baseless transfer rumour, a welcome credible news about a genuine target, or another earnest set of quotes from a Liverpool player about what a big week it is for Liverpool FC. But no, another injury. Another. Blasted. Injury.
Christian Benteke—a somewhat injury-prone striker who isn't actually injured—appears to be a poor fit. Being ill-suited is one thing, but producing one of the worst performances alongside what was essentially an under-21 side is worrying. Adam Bogdan and José Enrique probably should be looking to drop down a tier, but that still doesn't excuse such ineptitude displayed against a League Two side. Benteke, however, possesses quality far beyond the aforementioned duo but is desperately out of form. Origi's injury means Liverpool will have to carry on with not much in the way of conviction or options in attack.
Philippe Coutinho hasn't been the same since Liverpool thrashed Man City. An injury headed into the international break seemed to rob him of any improvement in his form, and just when he started to look lively again against Stoke City until ... well, you already know. Perhaps Benteke will stun Liverpool's rivals this week as part of an unpredictable league campaign, but Liverpool are in the midst of an injury crisis that might force a necessary rethink. For some, the remainder of the season under Jürgen Klopp was always about development, but for others, it was something far loftier, especially with Chelsea struggling so magnificently.
For now, Liverpool's management team and staff are only thinking of surviving: taking as much as possible—ideally victory—from the next game but ensuring that there are enough fit players to compete after the final whistle. Maybe transfer signings and youngsters will swell the ranks, but make no mistake, this period is about survival. Maybe a little more if we can manage it. Hugh Glass will tell you that's no easy task, it's no easy task at all.