It has been well documented how Liverpool suffered from injuries to key individuals last season, as the Reds failed in their bid to retain their Premier League crown.
While the club are in the market to bring in fresh faces through the summer transfer window, the return of key players from the physio’s room will almost feel like new signings themselves. It looks set to be a wide-open title race in the campaign to come, and these returning stars could give Liverpool an all-important edge.
Virgil to fill van Dijk-shaped void
As much as manager Jurgen Klopp tried last season, there is only one man who can replace Virgil van Dijk, and that is the Dutchman himself. Injured in the derby encounter against Everton back in October, the 29-year-old went on to miss the remainder of the campaign.
While fresh faces were brought in over the January window to try and plug the gaps, Van Dijk’s absence was only too clear, and Liverpool are set to be given a massive boost upon his return. The former Southampton star has missed out on Euro 2020 in a bid to focus his efforts on recovery, and Reds fans will be hoping to see Van Dijk in action for the opening game of the season against Norwich City on August 14.
Gomez to add to defensive strength
It really was a double blow for Klopp last season in defence, with England international Joe Gomez also ruled out with a long-term injury. A tendon injury saw Gomez’s season come to an end in November and left the Reds boss with a selection dilemma at the back.
At just 24 years old, Gomez has most of his footballing career ahead of him, and Liverpool will be hoping the 2020-21 season was just a bump in the road for these talented players. Having Gomez and Van Dijk back fit and firing, should see the return of the defensive performances that helped Liverpool claim that first Premier League title in the 2019-20 campaign.
The stats on the defensive roles the likes of Van Dijk and Gomez play are monitored by the club’s in-house data analytics team, while some of Liverpool’s competitors subcontract to external scouting and analytical firms to help navigate through the market. Football is not alone in this strategy, and sites like bonusfinder.com review and compare within the online casino sphere to navigate their own markets. For Liverpool, this analytics team based at the club gives them an edge, and returning stars like Van Dijk and Gomez should see a real boost in the numbers.
Captain fantastic to lift Reds
It was yet another derby encounter with the Toffees that saw a key player injured in February, as skipper Jordan Henderson picked up a groin problem. The England international made it back from the treatment table in time for the final Premier League game of the campaign, and now he’ll be raring to go for the start of the new season.
A player who often goes under the radar in terms of what he does for the Liverpool cause on the field, Henderson’s play and experience will be a welcomed boost next season. The loss of Georginio Wijnaldum has been a blow for the Reds, following his move from Anfield to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain this summer. While Liverpool will look to sign a replacement for the Dutchman, Henderson back playing on a regular basis will also give the Reds a lift in the middle of the park.
While transfers are what brings excitement over the summer months before the Premier League action returns, it could well be the returning players already at Anfield that provide the difference next season.