It didn’t even take until the first whistle was blown for Liverpool’s worryingly injury-prone center-backs to become a problem. Dejan Lovren, who was thought to just be recovering from a stressful World Cup, revealed that he is dealing with stomach muscle issues. The big defender played through the pain in the World Cup final, and will now head to the Netherlands to seek specialized treatment.
“I cannot train at all because of stomach muscle issues,” said Lovren. “I am suffering a lot of pain and will see a specialist doctor in the Netherlands.
“When did I start to feel it? I felt it during the World Cup. I played with pain and those three games killed me. But who wouldn’t play for Croatia at such a big tournament!
“I haven’t trained since I returned from holiday. I can’t. I’ll reassess things after seeing the doctor in Netherlands. I have to deal with that for now and believe it will be okay. I hoped it would pass during my holiday, but it didn’t. As I went for a swim, it hurt. I couldn’t even rest normally.”
Well, that doesn’t sound good. It’s not great news to hear that one of your starting center-backs played the biggest, most strenuous sporting competition in constant pain. And while not explicitly stated, it seems that Lovren didn’t inform the club of his problems before going on holiday, only revealing the problem when he returned to training.
This would explain why the club is, in Lovren’s words, “not happy.”
Liverpool might have thought they’d done well to fix the team’s long-standing defensive problems by breaking the bank for commanding center-back Virgil van Dijk and then Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
However, the universe had other ideas, and now before a ball has been kicked, Liverpool appear to be down to only Van Dijk, a half-fit Joe Gomez, and Academy player Nat Phillips. Other senior defenders Joël Matip, Ragnar Klavan, and now Dejan Lovren are all dealing with injury issues. And if Jürgen Klopp is depending on the perennially-injured Joe Gomez to hold down the fort, that is not exactly reassuring, no matter how much we all like him.
The good news is that the fit center-back Klopp has at his disposal is the one you’d want him to have. The bad news is that we are one bad tackle to Van Dijk away from being plunged into a genuine fitness crisis in August.
We still have no idea how long Lovren will be out, aside from definitely missing tomorrow’s opening match. It sounds like he may be dealing with a hernia, which could end up keeping him on the sidelines for four-to-six weeks. Cross your fingers that it’s much ado about nothing, but it wouldn’t be the beginning of a Liverpool season without something to worry about.