International breaks are never not a terrifying prospect for football fans, with the hope that perhaps a break in the outrageously busy club fixture schedule could see players come back in better shape, quickly and consistently giving way to the probability — and usually reality — that the extra travel, game time, and in these days, exposure to a whole host of other people, only exacerbates whatever issues the players are dealing with.
As such, the news that Jordan Henderson’s half-time substitution in England’s 2-0 loss to Belgium at the weekend came after the midfielder felt tightness in his hamstring would come as no surprise to the majority of Liverpool fans. Joe Gomez will miss the majority of the season after having surgery on his patellar tendon last week. Mohamed Salah got the ‘rona at a wedding, in a twist that was in fact an entirely straight line.
The first session at the new AXA training centre today took place without the participation of both Fabinho and Thiago, as even spending two weeks back on Merseyside appears to have been insufficient to completely ensure their recovery. And now, Rhys Williams, the club’s fifth choice centre-back who nonetheless looks set to be a key player the rest of the year, has been left out of the England U-21 side ahead of their clash with Albania.
The injury is reported as a minor, precautionary issue, but nonetheless adds fuel to the notion that perhaps blowing through a full competitive season in a month less than normal, without a proper pre-season, with international football continuing at a an accelerated pace, in the middle of a world-wide pandemic is in fact the sort of absolutely idiotic idea somebody should lose their job over.
At best, it will be interesting to see what kind of team the two sides can put out when Liverpool host Leicester on Sunday. At worst, this season will have devastating long-term implications for the career prospects and general health of hundreds of footballers across the continent. Absolute Barclays.