I know. It’s the international break. We’re in the middle of the first week and already getting fidgety. There will be no Liverpool match this weekend. We know this. But, it doesn’t mean we have to like it. In fact, we don’t.
Many Liverpool players are off with their national teams for these two weeks. And we worry. That’s a boatload of potential injury trouble just waiting to go overboard. And the other guys who aren’t whisked away to international commitments have the week off, just not playing any football at all.
It seems cruel to us, these “breaks.” I don’t need a break. I don’t need extra time to fix things that need fixing around my house. That’s summer business. I need anxiety over performances I have no control over and I need it Saturday!
But, I’ll concede, reluctantly, that maybe there’s an upside to this current break for the Reds. Maybe there’s something to be gained here by a few Liverpool players who may be either using this time away to recuperate their battled bodies or to work up their match fitness for a seamless return into Jürgen Klopp’s team.
Adam Lallana’s reintroduction into the side grows ever nearer as he’s returned to training and is expected to feature in a friendly put on by the club expressly for the England midfielder’s benefit. He just needs time. Philippe Coutinho is on the up and up after a thigh injury and was deemed acceptable fruit to pick by Brazil’s people. We worry. But then if all is right with his leg, Coutinho could see some action and get himself ready for Southampton. The same goes for Sadio Mané, who returned spectacularly against West Ham at the Olympic Stadium. Klopp hopes that his newly-recovered players will be taken well care of by their national set ups and not overused. But a little used could see our boys return to Merseyside in good stead.
And you’ll never guess who’s absolutely thrilled with the return of all three of these fellows. It’s Simon Mignolet, of course.
“If you have three of those kind of players injured at the same time,” Simon began, “then it’s obviously a tough thing to deal with. But at the same time the squad’s stayed calm underneath it.
“Hopefully after the international break they will be pushing the rest of the squad forward by adding in the goals and giving us a bigger platform to go from.”
There are quite a few games to be played between now and the end of the year. Coutinho and Mané getting longer injury-free runs in the side and Lallana coming into it for the first time this season will be plusses for Klopp’s management of the squad.
“If you get players like them coming back and being fresh after not playing much recently, that can give not only a boost to the team, but also a boost to them individually,” continued Mignolet.
“They will be raring to go and eager to get on the pitch and score the goals they’ve wanted to because they’ve been missing out.
“And I’m sure they will be ready for any battle that comes ahead of them when we come back after the international break.”
These statements are meant to be rallying in some way, that seems clear. So, we will take them as such, knowing that Simon is nice man who just happens to also be a cardboard cutout.
Just fooling. Great stuff, Simon.