His last time on the pitch was on February 20. That day, that memorable day Everton beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield. Ok, say that Klopp’s team is in crisis, that they have won a lot, say that beating a classic against their backyard rival in their own home does not have the merit that it actually has.
But then it was gone. On TV he saw the victories against Southampton (1-0) and West Bromwich, the review of Chelsea (2-0 loss), the fatal blow at Goodison Park against Burnley (1-2 loss) and the elimination of the FA Cup at the hands of Manchester City (0-2). Yes, he agreed with Carlo Ancelotti, he decided to stop and repair a long list of blows and pains that afflicted him in the background, and 34 days have already gone by. 3. 4!
When Everton left he was in the top five, today he is eighth (46 points) and although he is still very close to Liverpool, now he is escorting him, just like Tottenham, who has been rowing from behind and already took two units out of him, and Chelsea , which was just there and now, at five units, is the owner of the last place in the Champions League.
Much changed in his absence. And much he needs to recover now, when his team needs it most and the goal of returning to the European tournament seems distant.
The good news is that this is the week of his return to regular training with his teammates, as announced by Ancelotti. The images on social media are expected but, according to the schedule, this week he must train and next Monday, April 5, he must be back to the competition, when Crystal Palace again tests the weakness of the homeowner in Goodison Park.
That is the number one point on his ‘checklist’, a comeback plan that has nine stations in which everyone but him can fail: he no longer has excuses.
The Premier and all domestic competitions have a break for the FIFA date, in which Colombia will not have competition for the postponement of the double day, against Brazil and Paraguay, on behalf of Conmebol. It’s a relief, no doubt.
But then we will have to finish a month that requires counting three points per departure: visit to Brighton (April 12, 2:15 pm Colombian time), receive Tottenham (April 17, 9:00 am) and visit to Arsenal (April 24, 9:00 am). Those who criticized him averaging the season for not being (injured) in the string of games against the leaders can rewrite their stories at the end of April.
And then the auction: he receives Aston Villa (May 1, 9:00 a.m.), he visits the fearsome West Ham -fifth in the table- (May 8, 9:00 a.m.), he receives Sheffield United (May 11 , 1:45 pm), receives Wolves (May 15, 9:00 am) and visits Manchester City (May 23, 10:00 am), which by that time has already had to go through the coronation of champion that hardly someone will be able to snatch him this season.
They are, in total, 49 days and 10 games, a challenge every 4.9 days in which he will have, against Tottenham and West Ham especially, direct duels for the Champions League or Europa League qualification. They are 49 days to know if the decision to stop in its tracks at this point in the season was a wise move or too high a risk. The fragility of the Colombian’s physique does not give many options to plan in the long term, so we will have to wait and cross our fingers so that this season, after so much effort, does not end in a colorful but ineffective salute to the flag.