Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg is looking to “turn a negative into a positive” with Alisson‘s injury, but his layoff could be more than a “few weeks.”
Jurgen Klopp has a record of being overly optimistic when discussing injuries, and when he discussed the calf tear that saw his No. 1 helped off the field on the opening day of 2019/20, fans’ reservations were justified.
“I saw already like ‘six weeks’ and stuff like this, but Ali was not a lot injured in his career,” he said earlier this month.
“So I would like to wait a little bit to see how he develops in that process now, but he is not in for the next few weeks.”
Liverpool are yet to set a specific timeframe for Alisson‘s recovery, but Klopp’s words had suggested a comeback after the September international break was realistic.
But speaking to The Athletic‘s James Pearce—who he himself adds with “with the 26-year-old still on crutches, it won’t be any time soon”—Achterberg was more cautious.
“Ali is good. He’s in every day for treatment and they try to improve things,” the Dutchman explained.
“He’s able to do some fitness work in the gym without using his leg.
“It’s difficult, but you have to try to look forward and be positive. You have to try to turn a negative into a positive.
“They haven’t given us a specific time he’ll be out as it’s difficult to say how quickly it will heal. That’s all with the medics.
“There’s an international break coming up and we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes after that.”
Achterberg referencing the international break—which comes after the trip to Burnley on August 31—as a milestone is telling.
It is an unfortunate, freak injury, which Achterberg believes has little to do with Alisson‘s heightened workload due to a busy campaign with the Reds and the Copa America with Brazil, having returned in “much better shape” than in 2018.
“When something like that happens, you look at everything. Had the training load changed?” he mused.
“The reality is that we hadn’t done anything differently in the buildup to that game. Ali felt fine.
“We have a rule with the goalies that if there’s any kind of issue you always have to talk.
“He actually came back in much better shape this summer than last year when we first signed him.
“It was all positive and that makes what happened so frustrating for everyone.”
Interestingly, Pearce notes the eight-week layoff that had been floated prior to Liverpool’s update on Alisson, which could be a more realistic schedule.
That would bring the No. 1 up to October 5, which sees the Reds host Leicester.
But more likely the club would wait until after the next international break, with a return perhaps pencilled in for Man United on October 19.