Having failed to bring in star midfielder Naby Keïta and with whispers the club might as a result choose to return to the Champions League gambling on what they had, Liverpool knew they would need some real luck on the injury front to avoid the kind of mid-season collapse they suffered through during Jürgen Klopp’s first two years in charge.
Instead of luck—or good luck, at any rate—they got about the worst news imaginable today when it emerged that Adam Lallana had suffered a thigh injury in training and that he could miss up to three months as a result. It means an already too-thin squad just got a little thinner. Though hopefully it will now lead to a much-needed midfield signing.
Liverpool’s depth was already looking highly questionable before news of Lallana’s training ground injury emerged today. With the departure of Lucas Leiva, even the arrival of Mohamed Salah on the wings and more minutes in midfield for Philippe Coutinho at best meant that this was a squad treading water from the perspective of matchday squad depth.
With Liverpool heading back into Europe, no new signings would already have meant counting on a player like Marco Grujic or Ovie Ejaria stepping up and playing at least as many minutes in midfield as Lucas did last season—and perhaps considerably more. It would have been a gamble, and Liverpool’s Keïta pursuit made it clear a gamble had not been Plan A.
Now, before the season has even started, the recklessness of heading into the season with midfield depth comparable to last season but more games to go around has been laid bare. There where whispers before that the club, that the manager, might be content to go with the players he had if he couldn’t bring in Keïta, the player he really wanted.
There can be no such talk, no such whispers, any more. Reinforcements are needed, desperately, for Liverpool’s midfield. At least one signing, one player capable of starting for a top four and Champions League side, is desperately needed. Adam Lallana could miss three months. But at least there’s time for the club to react in the transfer market.