New Year results in a headache for many people. But Jurgen Klopp will soon be facing one he can’t wait to experience.
While many clubs will be considering bringing in fresh faces during the January transfer window, the Liverpool boss will be content to welcome back some familiar ones.
And some to whom Reds supporters are yet to be fully acquainted.
Having had to content with an injury list that seemingly lengthened with every week during the first period of the season, Klopp is now finally poised to have options all over the field.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first appearance of the season in a late cameo at Crystal Palace at the weekend, while the imminent return to full training of summer signing Thiago Alcantara, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri will provide much-needed relief for a midfield that has ran itself into the ground in recent weeks.
By the end of next month, Liverpool’s other close season arrivals, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas, should also be back available.
And while some time away from a first-team return, the sight of Virgil van Dijk this week kicking a ball as he continues his rehabilitation from a serious knee complaint was a further indication of how the Reds may now be stepping away from the injury abyss.
Certainly, their problems up to now have far outstripped similar complaints at any of their main title rivals.
But the absences have offered an opportunity to a clutch of youngsters, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams both building on their formative steps of last season while Rhys Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher have seized their chance. Nat Phillips, too, has performed solidly when called upon.
They have all proven their worth, providing Klopp with alternatives perhaps even he couldn’t have envisaged mere months ago.
And it goes a long way to explaining why Liverpool are unlikely to make any significant signings during the January transfer window.
Very soon, Klopp will have a multitude of welcome selection dilemmas. None, though, will offer as much intrigue as his midfield, and the employment of one player in particular.
Thiago, having featured for just 135 minutes since arriving from Bayern Munich, remains something of an unknown quantity – well, as much as one of the most celebrated midfielders on the planet can be.
But Liverpool’s opponents won’t really know what to expect. Nor, in truth, will the Reds, although his brief outings have significantly whetted the appetite.
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One consequence of the increased options is that Klopp’s hand could well be strengthened considerably for the FA Cup third round clash at Aston Villa on January 8.
Sure, more injuries are inevitable in this most strange of seasons. But only gross misfortune could inflict a repeat in the second half of the campaign.
Klopp’s New Year headache can’t come quickly enough.