Renshaw defends 'exceptional' Liverpool medical staff

Renshaw became Liverpool's Head Physio in July 2016

Renshaw became Liverpool's Head Physio in July 2016

LIVERPOOL’S Head Physio, Andy Renshaw, has hit back at critics of the club’s injury record, insisting the medical department achieve ‘outstanding’ results.

Dutchman Raymond Verheijen, the former Wales assistant, has been the most vocal critic of manager Jurgen Klopp and his staff, arguing they overtrain players, leading to a high number of injuries.

But Renshaw has countered that “anyone who knows what they’re talking about will understand which injuries are actually preventable".

“How can you prevent an injury like Sadio Mane’s last season when a tackle on him causes him to require surgery and miss 14 weeks from training and games?” he told Rousing the Kop.

“The facts are simple. I started [current role] in July 2016, and during that season we reduced preventable injuries by 63% compared to the season prior. The days missed due to these reduced from 623 days for season 2015/16 to 144 days missed during 2016/17.

“The number of these injuries also reduced from 30 in 2015/16 to 11 in 2016/17. In 2015/16 there were 17 hamstring injuries. Last season we had three. I could go on, believe me.

“The manager, the coaching staff, the sports science staff, and the medical staff all work communally to keep these figures low, whilst trying to maximise performance, so when our results are outstanding and people still publish false information – yes, that’s a tad frustrating.

"Our team of staff truly is exceptional at working together to keep players on the pitch and to return injured players back as safely and as quickly as possible."

Liverpool lost 1,052 days to significant injuries last season, which put them 12th in the Premier League, although this figure does not distinguish between preventable and non-preventable injuries.

This was a major improvement on 2015/16, when the club lost 1,804 days to significant injuries - the second worst record in the Premier League, behind only Newcastle.

Anfield Index reported that in the first four games of 2017/18, Liverpool’s overall volume of ‘pressing actions’ had been down 15% on 2016/17, while instances of group pressing were down 50%.

Andrew Massey, the club’s Head of Medical Services, said: “Because we work for Liverpool, we are constantly in the spotlight. It is easy to be critical of injuries, with any team in any sport, someone will always think of a suggestion to prevent these injuries.

“As a medical team we will never comment on individual injuries, so we never respond to any of the articles. What I would say is that as a team, we work as hard as possible to ensure players are kept injury free, and as importantly, that we return players from injury as quickly as possible. That is why we are in the jobs we do.”

Renshaw also praised physio Christopher Rohrbeck, who joined from Mainz in the summer.

“Chris came in July and has been a huge help,” he said. “He’s a very well experienced osteopath and again brings a different perspective to what we might be familiar with in this country.

“He works with us in the physiotherapy department and shares treatment and rehabilitation responsibilities with the rest of the lads, and has honestly further strengthened and unified the team.

“He is invaluable when me and Andy M have to explain complicated aspects of medicine or physiotherapy as he can translate it into a manner in which the manager understands perfectly.”

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