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Liverpool’s Fitness is the Business: Henderson and Keita

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Jürgen Klopp confirms the Liverpool midfielders will miss the trip to Arsenal with dueling hamstring injuries.

Bury v Liverpool - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Hamstrings. How necessary are they really? I was skeptical so did some extensive research. As it turns out, hamstrings are very necessary. They make legs work, and running very quickly is basically impossible even if just one hamstring gets injured.

The hamstring tendons contain neither ham nor strings. Etymologically, the ‘ham’ part comes from an Old English word for the hollow area behind the knee. And the ‘strings’ part comes from the violin concerto your knees perform every time you bend them.

Both Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are currently dealing with injuries to their hamstrings. The two Liverpool midfielders have been out of action for Jürgen Klopp but are expected to return to training over the next several days. That rules them both out for Saturday’s trip to the Emirates and Arsenal will likely have to deal with the tenacity of James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum for 90 minutes instead. Bully for them.

Mohamed Salah has a minor injury to his wrist that caused some worry over the player’s availability for the weekend but the Liverpool manager eased that consternation during his pre-Arsenal press conference.

“Hendo feels really good but it will be probably the start of the week when he will be back in training,” said Klopp.

“Naby [will be the] end of this week. It doesn’t make a big difference match-wise, but that’s how it looks.

“Mo, it is nothing really serious; it’s a kind of inflammation of the tendon. That’s pretty much all, it [wrist splint] was only for protection – the pictures you saw were only protection and it has no influence.”

Injuries are part of the game and at Liverpool’s level a big squad is necessary if a club is expected to stay competitive through the absences of key players. Klopp has the strongest squad that Liverpool have had in a generation. And the players who have seen more matches from the bench than the pitch are now getting opportunities to strut their stuff.

Henderson is always a key player for Klopp and Keita seemed just about to hit his stride before being forced out of contention. They will return, though. In the meantime, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho have delighted in their chances in the XI.

Klopp sees no reason to rush either of his star midfielders back into action. A long season is still ahead.

“In football, a not too serious injury takes still two, three or four weeks,” Klopp said. “You are lucky if you only have an injury like that, but that only means in the Premier League [you will miss] 20 games!

“They are completely in time, if you want. It’s like we expected it. We didn’t have to rush it – actually we couldn’t, but there was no reason for trying it. If the next game would be next Friday then probably both would be fit, but the next game is on Saturday and the other one on Tuesday, so that could be a bit tight.”