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Liverpool appoint new head of recovery and performance amid injury crisis

The Reds have added to their medical team as the club deals with a mounting list of absentees and a packed fixture schedule

Liverpool have appointed doctor Andreas Schlumberger as the club’s first head of recovery and performance.

The 54-year-old joins the Anfield club from Schalke, where he spent nearly a year as the German side’s head of fitness.

The Reds say the newly-created role will see Schlumberger “support and work in close collaboration with the current performance, medical and rehabilitation leadership”.

He previously worked alongside Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, having spent four years as the Bundesliga side’s rehabilitation coach between 2011 and 2015. He has also had spells at Nurnberg, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich and the German Football Association during his career.

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Schlumberger moves to Merseyside with the club suffering from a mounting injury list amid a breathless fixture schedule.

Central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez expected to be sidelined for much of the campaign with knee injuries.

Thiago Alcantara has not played since October with a knee injury of his own, while fellow summer signings Diogo Jota and Konstantinos Tsimikas are not expected to return until February with similar injuries.

Naby Keita and Joel Matip are sidelined with muscle problems, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri only just back to fitness following injury lay-offs.

Reds boss Klopp has been vocal with his concerns over player welfare this campaign, with the delayed start to the season because of the coronavirus pandemic meaning more matches are being packed into an already busy schedule.

Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle will be Liverpool’s 25th match in all competitions in a little over four months, with three international breaks also taking place in that time.

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The German believes the reintroduction of the five substitutes, used during the summer restart, would give managers greater flexibility to protect players who may be tired or susceptible to injury.

However, the proposal has been voted down three times by Premier League clubs despite it being adopted by most major leagues across Europe, including the Championship, with smaller clubs arguing that it would favour bigger clubs who have deeper squads.

Teams are now allowed to name up to nine substitutes on the bench in each game – an increase from seven – while an agreement “in principle” has been reached to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions.

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