Manchester United’s disastrous start to the season has been heavily impacted by the unprecedented injury crisis Erik ten Hag has faced in recent months. But the Dutchman could be paying the price for failing to heed Jurgen Klopp’s warning when Liverpool suffered the same issues last term.
In the 2021/22 season, Liverpool played 63 games as they fell agonisingly short of a historic quadruple success.
The Reds won both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. However, they missed out on the Premier League to a late Manchester City final-day comeback and narrowly lost the Champions League final despite dominating Real Madrid.
It undoubtedly impacted Liverpool’s energy levels and led to a relentless wave of injuries last season, ultimately contributing to Klopp’s side missing out on Champions League football by finishing fifth.
“Could anybody know how the last season of 63 games could influence this season? I don’t think anybody could know,” Klopp said in January.
“It must have. We can say that now. We had holiday, not too much, there were games here, and the boys all looked fine.
“Then it started with Diogo [Jota] coming back from international duty and getting injured, and then bam, bam, bam.
“Luis [Diaz] twice, Darwin [Nunez] suspended and now injured. Earlier in the season, midfielders were not available, so we brought in Arthur [Melo], who then got injured. There is a lot of bad luck.”
In the same campaign, Ten Hag’s first as United manager, he oversaw a staggering 62 games as his side challenged on all fronts.
The Red Devils played more times than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues as they won the Carabao Cup, reached the FA Cup final and the Europa League quarter-finals – via a knockout play-off against Barcelona.
But Ten Hag was reluctant to heavily rotate throughout the campaign, indicating he didn’t trust the entirety of the squad he inherited from Ralf Rangnick last summer.