Liverpool's injury crisis has been a constant discussion point throughout their Premier League title defence, but it's become an even hotter topic amid a run of form that has seen the Reds plummet out of the top four.
In the absence of the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Liverpool have suffered four consecutive Premier League defeats and haven't won at Anfield in their last six top flight home outings.
The discussion has inevitably transitioned towards a debate over whether Liverpool's long list of casualties - the latest being captain Jordan Henderson - truly justifies their current freefall.
Earlier this week, a report from The Athletic revealed that while Liverpool's injury problems are severe when compared to the rest of the Premier League this season, Manchester City statistically had it worse during the 2018/19 campaign when they beat the Reds to the crown.
Indeed, during City's last title win they had 35 different injuries keeping a player out for ten games or more. So far this season, Liverpool have suffered 28.
Of course, the big caveat is the fact Liverpool's injuries have all come in the same position, forcing them into 18 different centre-back partnerships already this term.
And Liverpool defender Andy Robertson is adamant in his belief that no team in world football would be able to cope with so many injuries at the heart of defence.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "If you tell any team in world football that they’re going to have 18 different partnerships in a season at centre-back, no team in the world deals with that - not one.
"Usually we have Virg, who’s very vocal, we have Joey Gomez that leads by example and we have Joel that leads by example. We’ve had Fabinho, Hendo.
"But now we’ve got Nat Phillips who obviously wasn’t here last season, was out on loan, and now he’s there. We’ve got [Ozan] Kabak who’s just a young lad, who’s just come in, and we’ve got Ben Davies who’s been signed from a Championship club and needs to take time - and big Reece [Williams] of course.
"But all of them are relatively inexperienced and its trying to help them, but also trying to help the team by you focusing on yourself.
"So it’s been tough for me personally of course it has, but look - it’s part and parcel of it. I’m probably the leader at the back, I’m probably the most vocal at the back now and it’s just trying to make sure that we do as well as we can and we try and keep as many clean sheets as we can, because that’s the only way we’re going to win games."
GIVEMESPORT's Christy Malyan says...
I'm in danger of repeating myself here, but ultimately it's the perception that Liverpool are only out of the title race because of a cruel twist of fate that I'm struggling to accept.
Yes, Liverpool's injury crisis has been unusual in that it's decimated one specific area of the squad, but pretty much every club Premier League has faced huge hurdles during what has been a frankly crazy season for obvious reasons.
Manchester City have spent long periods of the campaign without Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, their two biggest talents, but Pep Guardiola's side are still well clear of the rest of the division.
Furthermore, the question remains as to why Liverpool didn't sign another centre-back option during the summer, when there was already an obvious gap within the squad.
The Reds need to look at their own recruitment process in that respect, because it's resulted in them making last-minute January signings just to ensure Jurgen Klopp has enough bodies.
Kabak has quite frankly looked a little out of his depth, while Davies is yet to make his Liverpool debut.
Lady luck hasn't been on Liverpool's side this season but Robertson's insinuation that nothing could be done falls a little short of the mark.News Now - Sport News