Television pundit Chris Sutton insists medical teams will have a significant role to play in determining who wins this season’s Premier League following Liverpool’s latest injury woe, writing in his column for the Daily Mail.
Trent Alexander-Arnold became the latest Liverpool player to be hit by injury this season. He picked up a knock in the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Manchester City last night.
Both sides have suffered high-profile setbacks. Sergio Aguero is out for City, while Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are absent for Liverpool.
After Sunday’s match Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated claims Premier League players need more protection from league officials amid the fixture pile-up and coronavirus fears.
Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola reiterated his call for the league to reassess using five substitutes. Many other leagues in Europe have brought in the rule this season.
The Spaniard believes it would benefit the whole league. He said the growing number of injuries throughout the division proved there was too much workload on players.
Medical teams will win the league
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Sutton said while players must do their duty on the pitch, the teams with the best medical professionals would have the upper hand by keeping players fit and on the pitch.
He wrote: “This season’s Premier League title will not only be won by players doing their jobs on the pitch.
“It will come down to which club’s medical department does theirs the best too.
“That is where the real race is being run right now.”
Sutton: older generations ‘hardly ever complained’
However, Sutton did an about-turn when it came to sympathy towards Liverpool and Manchester City. The former Chelsea and Celtic striker recalled Liverpool’s league and European Cup campaigns in the 1970s. And he dismissed suggestions there are too many games these days.
“I’m never fond of hearing managers moan about fixture congestion. Like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week or Jurgen Klopp on Sunday.
“Without wishing to come across as a dinosaur, I think back to the older generations who put in greater shifts and hardly ever complained.
“Liverpool in 1976-77, under Bob Paisley, played 62 games in 284 days and won the league as well as the European Cup. They were crowned champions using just 17 players.”
Sutton also implied teams were much better equipped these days thanks to new technology.
He said: “They monitor fatigue to the extreme degree. But there remains extraordinarily high rates of muscular injuries, which has become an unfortunate theme of this season.
“I expect it will be the clubs with departments who can limit the damage the most that go the furthest.”
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