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The former Reds midfielder says a gruelling schedule is not to blame for fitness issues at Anfield, with key men merely put in the firing line

Liverpool have become “victims of their own success”, says Jason McAteer, with the ability to name a settled side considered to be responsible for injury struggles at Anfield.

Game time has been catching up with certain members of the Reds squad this season, with fitness setbacks being suffered on a regular basis.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Alisson and Diogo Jota have all spent time on the treatment table, with some still there.

Jurgen Klopp has been able to manage his way through a storm, leading Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table and last-16 of the Champions League, but has had to get creative at times.

McAteer believes that is because he has shown so much trust in core members of the fold on Merseyside, with ambitious performers putting themselves in the firing line by chasing down honours on multiple fronts.

The former Reds midfielder told FreeSuperTips: “Not rotating the squad catches up with everybody. 

“The thing about Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool as a football club is sometimes, they’re a victim of their own success.

“If you’re at the top of the table and you win the Champions League, you’re going to be playing Champions League football again. You’re going to be playing a lot of high-intensity games.

“Your squad – if it’s that good – is going to be littered with international players, so they’re going to go away and play international football.

“As a result, you’re going to be playing a lot more games because you’re going to be in cup competitions for a lot longer, if you’re that good.

“I understand that TV stations want the best teams and the most attractive football on their screens, but that doesn’t necessarily help Liverpool and their players.

“Jurgen Klopp’s got a point when he says they play Champions League on a Wednesday night abroad, but then have to play at 12:00pm on a Saturday. 

“The product [of the quality of live games] does need protection in that sense, otherwise we’re going to be watching the under-23s play because Liverpool will have no players fit for the starting XI and that’s across the board, not just for Liverpool.

“You can’t blame all the injuries on fatigue because most were impact injuries, van Dijk’s, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago, Alisson were all caused in this way.

“It’s not fair to point a finger and say ‘he doesn’t rotate them enough and it’s his own fault’ because I don’t think that’s the case.”

Liverpool, who sit top at Christmas for a third successive season, will be back in action on Sunday when they take in a home date with West Brom.

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December 22, 2020
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