Liverpool’s returning stars can make a huge difference

Jurgen Klopp churned out the dreaded quote earlier this summer about Liverpool’s stars who are returning from injury can be like new signings for the club.

Much of the LFC fanbase seemed to go into meltdown on social media. Fans were calling for FSG’s heads, claiming the club is in the best financial state it’s ever been in and, therefore, need to be splashing the cash to keep pace with Premier League champions Manchester City.

Well, what if Klopp is right? What if, just for a few minutes, we take a step back and consider what he was saying and who he was saying it about?

Liverpool players, who should be fit and available to play more of a role for The Reds this season include Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana.

While I’m firmly of the belief that Lallana’s potential impact on the first eleven is very limited, there’s a lot to be said about the other three and what they can offer Klopp’s Liverpool.

Naby Keita had a stop-start debut season for The Reds after his arrival from the Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. Keita picked up a few niggling injuries throughout 2017/18 which prevented him from getting a consistent run in the first eleven. He did, however, start coming into form between March and May, chipping in with some goals and energetic running from the centre of the park.

Keita’s season was ended after he had to leave the pitch in the first half of the Reds’ 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. Now he’s back and ready to fight for his place in Klopp’s midfield trio.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be eager to remind us all of just how good he was for Klopp’s Liverpool before his horror injury against Roma in the Champions League encounter at Anfield in April 2018.

Now, 16 months later, the former Arsenal player will be looking to provide those runs from the midfield which could be so deadly and penetrative when needed. ‘The Ox’ banged in some important goals for Liverpool as well – two strikes from outside the box, both against Manchester City, really stick in the memory.

A midfielder who can score from outside the box has been missing at the club since the departure of one Steven Gerrard.

In defence, Joe Gomez missed 23 games due to the broken leg he suffered at Burnley in early December.

While Joel Matip did an excellent job in Gomez’s place between January and May, there is no denying the quality the young Englishman possesses. Gomez had formed a fantastic partnership with Virgil van Dijk in the centre of the Liverpool back four before his injury. He will be waiting to pounce on any opportunity presented to him this season, keeping Matip on his toes.

While we would all like a shiny new signing to drool over, life doesn’t always imitate art, or, in this case, FIFA or Football Manager.

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