Gary Neville deconstructs Jurgen Klopp's argument on increase in injuries
"The exceptional points that Jurgen Klopp is making, haven't happened."
Gary Neville has played down the idea that a busier fixture schedule has caused more injuries this season.
In light of Jurgen Klopp's recent comments on the number of muscle injuries his team - and other teams - are suffering at the moment, Neville and fellow Monday Night Football pundit Jamie Carragher argued out whether this trend can be put down to the unusual nature of this season.
Klopp argued with BT Sport's Des Kelly for several minutes after Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Brighton on Saturday, sarcastically congratulating the broadcaster for James Milner's injury, blaming BT for selecting Liverpool to play the early kick off.
Liverpool have had unusually bad luck with injuries this season, with Milner the eighth player currently sidelined for the Reds. But can they all be put down to a busier fixture schedule?
Certainly, there are more injuries this season across the board - Manchester United have nine players ruled out, Arsenal seven, Aston Villa eight.
But then, the injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara were impact injuries, the result of reckless tackles in a derby match.
So is it the result of more fixtures, pure random luck, or somewhere in between? Neville believes it could be the result of Liverpool fielding a similar XI for three years in a row in order to compete at the highest level.
"I think the manager of Liverpool is sincere in not just thinking about Liverpool, I really do believe that," Carragher said. Neville's response? Laughter.
Citing his playing career under Sir Alex Ferguson, Neville retorted: "Jamie, I played for a manager for 20 years who tried to gain an advantage by making this type of argument."
He then questioned whether the hectic nature of this season had been exaggerated.
"Even I thought this was a shorter season with more games crammed in. I thought that this morning before I came in and looked at the evidence," Neville said.
"It's not. Let's be clear," Neville said, before Carragher interrupted, asking for an explanation as to why there has been 20-30% more injuries this season.
After some too-ing and fro-ing and talking over each other, Neville returned to his main point: "James Milner got injured Saturday, he's played two Premier League games all season, and he's had a hamstring injury.
"Jurgen Klopp made the point about Andy Robertson [that he would have taken him off if he had more subs], but brought him on in a dead game against Atalanta where they were losing.
"For three years, he's picked a very similar team, a lot, because he's had to to compete with Manchester City.
"I remember three years ago making the point that I didn't think Liverpool could compete in the Champions League and win the league. I was wrong. I couldn't believe what they did."
Jamie 🗣 "Explain to me why theres 20-30% more injuries this season?"
Gary 🗣 "The games aren't coming more thick & fast than any other season"@GNev2 & @Carra23 argue about Jurgen Klopp's comments after the Brighton game pic.twitter.com/jbQjVXYfJD
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 30, 2020
"I did this for 10-15 years, where every year the manager was trying to rotate to stop fatigue kicking in, and it was tough to play 55-60 games and keep that level of performance that you need.
"What Jurgen Klopp's done in the last three years is unbelievable, but his squad this season is just wilting a little bit.
"There might be an element of COVID and sport science but the rest time has been there. The games aren't coming more thick & fast than any other season.
"The exceptional points that Jurgen Klopp is making haven't happened."