Former Liverpool forward Michael Owen has said that the Premier League champions Liverpool will struggle to retain their title after many key first-team players suffered major injuries, potentially ruling them out for the season.
The Reds ended their league drought in spectacular fashion, winning the Premier League trophy for the first time in 30 years. The emphatic nature of their dominance saw many pencil them down as favourites to retain the title.
Liverpool currently sit third on the table, although they have been less dominant than previous seasons. This has partly been due to the congested nature of the current campaign.
The Anfield side would have fancied their chances of retaining the league title, but are in serious danger of being jeopardized by injuries.
Michael Owen gives his opinion on how injuries would affect Liverpool
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been very vocal in his criticism of the decision to not continue the use of five substitutes in the Premier League. Data suggests that muscle injuries have spiked up by about 43% this season and Liverpool alongside Manchester City have been disproportionately affected.
There have also been concerns in midfield, as captain Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, and Fabinho are also sidelined, while talisman Mo Salah tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Egypt.
In light of this, Michael Owen believes his former side would struggle to retain their title, although he also backed them to overcome their peril.
The 2001 Ballon d'Or winner — who represented Liverpool between 1996 and 2004 — told TalkSports:
''Well I have no doubts if these players were fit then Liverpool are the best team in the land. I think they would win the Premier League. This has now thrown it up in the air a little bit. From a Premier League point of view, I still think they can get by in virtually every game."
''It’s when you get really tested because in some games, if you’re in a good team that are better than the rest, you can carry one or two players that aren’t quite at it," he added.
“But it’s when you get into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it’s when you play Manchester City at Anfield, things like that, then you can’t have any passengers in your team," Michael Owen signed off.
After the two-week international break, Liverpool will return to league action when they host table-toppers Leicester City in the marquee clash of the weekend.Published 20 Nov 2020, 20:32 IST