Gareth Southgate has revealed he had a “long chat” with Jurgen Klopp after the serious knee injury picked up by Joe Gomez while on England duty.
Liverpool defender Gomez has had surgery on his tendon after a training ground injury and is expected to miss around six months of action. Southgate called the injury “tragic”, a feeling surely echoed by Klopp who is facing a defensive crisis.
The England boss admitted that the current burden on players via massive fixture congestion is likely played a part in Gomez’s injury, while Southgate also lifted the lid on a lengthy talk with Klopp.
“I had a long chat with Jurgen last night, we’re all worried about player welfare,” Southgate said as per the Metro, in the build-up to England’s 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.
“To lose a player in the way that we did yesterday, for us and for Liverpool, but most importantly for the boy, is really tragic.
“I said there needs to be a look at the calendar. We’re fortunate to have the six subs tonight, five for the Nations League. We’ve got to try and lessen the load, as much as we can, for the players.
“Unfortunately the injury was so unique in how it happened, we know it was just a consequence of the number of games.
“Wherever he had been, there’s a chance it would have happened. ‘But we [Klopp and I] are on the same page, we think the welfare of the players is critical.”
It’s at least a positive that Southgate and the Liverpool boss are on the same page for now. It’s not unusual for England managers of the past to have frosty relationships with the managers of big Premier League clubs (see: Ferguson, Sir Alex).
However it will still be a bitter blow to Liverpool, who have already lost Virgil van Dijk for the season, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and even midfielder/stand-in centre-back Fabinho are currently injury concerns.