Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has opened up on the challenges of the Premier League’s congested fixture schedule this season.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has frequently criticised the relentless nature of the 2020/21 campaign, with clubs competing in Europe rarely afforded more than a handful of days off in between matches.
This lack of recovery time has resulted in an assortment of soft tissue injuries across the top flight. The Premier League champions have been hit particularly hard, and currently have a number of players suffering from short and long-term injuries – Alexander-Arnold being one, who is sidelined with a calf problem.
“It is difficult,” Alexander-Arnold told The Telegraph. “Not having much of a pre-season was hard. Then it was straight into the deep end with the most intense league in the world and getting thrown in there playing three games in a week and Champions League.
“The body is not ready and that is what a lot of players are paying the price for. We knew there would be a big difference in pre-season and the amount of time we had off in the off-season. There is more emphasis on recovery. Trying to manage workloads more.
“It feels less natural than other seasons. I was able to just fly into games. You got into a rhythm. This feels different. Obviously the world feels different with things we can and can’t do. But it does not feel the same kind of season.”
First-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are longer-term absentees for Liverpool, and could miss the rest of the season with serious knee injuries.
“Although they would not want to be in the situation that they are, if they could choose someone to help get them through it I am sure they would have chosen each other,” the Liverpool right-back added. “They have such a strong bond and they will push each other in rehab.”