For Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, the winter suddenly doesn’t feel so chilling after all with three wins in a row and a number of key players returning from injury. Last Sunday Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge came on as second half substitutes in the 1-0 win over Swansea, while midfield maestro Philippe Coutinho has also now recovered from a hamstring strain. The timing couldn’t be better for Klopp when the grueling winter season and its congested fixtures list tests the depths of every club.
But it’s looking more bleak for Arsenal after key players Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez picked up injuries at Carrow Road in the game against Norwich last Sunday. The severity of their injuries, reported to be ligament damage and a hamstring strain respectively, are yet to be confirmed although it seems certain the duo will miss the league match against Sunderland this weekend and the crunch Champions League match against Olympiacos next week. The two offensive engines join Danny Welbeck (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Kieran Gibbs (calf), Theo Walcott (calf), Francis Coquelin (knee) and Mikel Arteta (calf) on the injury list.
The concern for manager Arséne Wenger is that injuries have become a common theme for the Gunners in recent seasons. Some argue that Arsenal’s approach creates a higher risk of injury because it requires the players to sprint more often and pass faster. Whatever the reason, Arsenal rank the second for most players currently sidelined with 10 behind only Bournemouth with 11. Conversely, Chelsea, Tottenham have only 4 injuries apiece.
Sanchez will undergo a scan this week once the swelling has reduced, with Wenger left to question his decision to play him last Sunday despite the striker complaining of muscle tightness muscle before the match. The Chilean is concerned there might be a tear, which would see him sidelined for at least a month. His injury is Wenger’s worst nightmare as Sanchez is his number one target man and a crucial member of the team.