Long-time Liverpool coach Glen Driscoll, the club's performance chief, a sports scientist and a coach who measures the fitness of the squad and of each player individually, has explained the hard-working ethos that lies at the core of what Brendan Rodgers' senior selection do at Melwood.
Two players, Jordan Henderson, who has been an ever-present in the Reds line-up and Luis Suarez, who has featured regularly since completing his ten-game suspension in September, feature in Driscoll's case study, yet there will be particular interest in how the club handle Suarez's situation as this is a player who has returned an other-worldly 23 goals thus far this season, yet a player who has struggled to make as big an impact, scoring just once since Liverpool's 5-3 rout over Stoke City.
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'Luis is a phenomenon,' said Driscoll to the club's official website. 'He has an unrelenting drive and mentality but is also very robust intrinsically but, extrinsically, because of the recovery strategies we give the players, we minimise the risk of burn-out. If we didn't periodise the players appropriately, not giving them two days recovery, and a two-day preparation phase leading into games, which is lighter, we would be at risk of flat-lining players.'
Driscoll then explained that both Henderson and Suarez share a similar trait - they both are too dedicated on the field and on the training ground - so the club need to step in to ensure they do not over-train!
'What Henderson and Suarez have in common is we believe they are two players who need protecting from themselves. They would take the option of not recovering if we gave it to them and work every day between games. You have to admire their work ethic and desire but experience tells us if they did this, it would be detrimental to their performance and increase the risk of injury.'
He concluded: 'There are other times in the week when we can let them fly, and thankfully they are certainly doing that in matches at the moment.'
image: © Ben Sutherland