So, with there being a dearth of Premier League activity because of the ridiculous break for the international season we at Pies Towers have been inspired by the injuries of half the Liverpool side to form our own all-time Premiership XI.
We'll look at the players who could have made it, should have made it but didn't because either they had hamstrings like liquorice, backs made out of chalk or generally spent more hours on the surgeon's bench than Michael Jackson and Jackie Stallone.
There really is only one man for the position between the sticks – former Liverpool 'keeper Chris Kirkland. More prone to sudden fractures and cracks than the San Andreas fault, Kirkland's career has been 'ravaged' by injury. It doesn't help that he seems to have fingers made out of breadsticks and a spine laced with dynamite. The appearances say it all – just 120 appearances since his Coventry debut in... wait... 1997.
According to a survey of Real Madrid fans, Jonathan Woodgate is the worst buy the club has ever made. Just look at the stats: he cost £13.4million and played a total of ten games between August '04 and April '07 when Middlesborough manically took a punt on the man who's less stable than a mug of plutonium.
He therefore cost over a million a game, scored a load of own-goals, and somehow got hugely rich. Nice work Johnny boy.
Not including his time with Real Madrid, he's managed to clock up 18 seperate injuries in the Premier League, spent more time out of football than Teddy Sheringham has spent in it, and as yet hasn't nearly repaid the £20+ million that's been spent on his miserly muscles. He was one of the first names on this Premier League injury XI.
I was at a Chelsea game a few years ago (don't ask why) when they were playing Villa. A rather charming Dickensian gentleman in the crowd screamed at the top of his voice: "Oi Delaney you f*cking w*nker, can I buy your knee? I want to donate it to the Natural History Museum because I heard it was gonna become f*cking extinct within a couple of years. T*at". Oh how we all laughed at the gentleman's command of the English language.
The problem was though, that he was right. That knee, which was seemingly made out of cheese and biscuits, finally gave way for the last time in August this year as he announced his retirement from the game after countless operations and injuries. Doubtless though, that his spirits will have been lifted enormously after making this esteemed list.
Ah Ugo. He was the one footballer that made most of us salad-dodgers feel healthy (well, him, Jardel and Nicky Weaver). He never seemed to be able to run a metre without pulling a muscle and once claimed famously that he couldn't ever play two games in three days. His injury list is basically a Gray's Anatomy for the leg: Achilles Paratendinopathy, Posterior Cruciate Ligament tear, strains of the knee, calf, groin and hamstring – oh and not forgetting his wonky back. Still playing, but only God knows how.
Until I started researching this article, I had completely forgotten that Babayaro was still playing football. I assumed he'd gone to run for president in Nigeria, or something (apologies for the massive generalisation). When he's not suspended, he tends to find himself getting his rubbish hamstring treated by the Newcastle doctors. Apparently it was only the sacking of Glenn Roeder which saved his career at St. James'. 51 appearances in nearly three years at Newcastle tells the tale. To be honest, we could have filled the entire XI with Newcastle players, but this is meant to be semi-serious... I did say semi.
Any player in history that manages to have a nickname stick like 'sick-note' has to be worthy of inclusion in this esteemed list. The roll call of his injuries would fill gigabytes of computer space, so let's just look at where he's captain at the moment: Bournemouth, A place where the old and wrinkled go to retire their time-withered bones and bodies. Perfect then.
Babbel's inclusion here is because of his many-year battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome. In four and a half years Babbel managed just 42 appearances for Liverpool. At the beginning, people wondered whether he might have just been another lazy, overpaid foreign import, but when we all realised that he was properly ill, the sympathy flooded in. Now coaching at Stuttgart, Babbel remains a huge favourite with the Kop faithful. Imagine how good he'd have been if he'd ever actually played.
Oh dear. Harry Kewell. He makes up the tripod of Liverpool players that form a pretty solid basis of this list. The phrase 'injury prone' was designed for such a player. Since being with the Reds, he's had 16 separate injury lay-offs; sprained ankles and wobbly groins have been the killer niggles for 'Australia's second most famous sportsman'. In four years with Liverpool he's played 82 games. In his 14-year career he's only played 264 games. In the time he's spent away from the pitch he's managed to, err, get his hand tattooed.
I think Kieron Dyer epitomises the current penchant for modern over-rated Premier League footballers. Frequently injured, frequently banned and frequently shit. West Ham thought they'd got a bargain when they shelled out £6million on the rubber-muscled ban-merchant. If you consider two games, no goals and a leg which more resembles a Lego set to be a bargain, then West Ham have done some quality business.
I think everyone knows the legend of Casiraghi. He arrived at Chelsea as the signing to end their barren spell of league misery. He started off well, scoring against Liverpool in their 1-1 draw, and then Shaka Hislop happened to him, or to be more accurate, Shaka happened to his knee.
The collision with Hislop wrecked his anterior Cruciate ligament and meant he'd never play another game of competitive football again. As Premiership injury flops go, Casiraghi has to be the most famous. I wonder what Shaka thinks of it all?
The career of Luc Nilis was one of success and more success, until he set foot in the Premier League. He forged one of the most terrifying striking partnerships in Europe when he was paired with Ruud van Nistelrooy at PSV. He was so good, that Aston Villa took interest in him and bought him in 2000. And weren't those Villans excited? Nilis was going to bring deadly finishing and fabulous link-up play back to The Park. Well in fact it did for two and a half games, before Richard Wright managed to mow him down like a sniper. And that was that – careerover.net.
The final nail in Nilis's coffin was also the final addition to our Premier League injury XI. If all these guys played together they'd forge a fearsome team, capable of beating almost anyone. The chances of them being in any shape to do so is highly, highly dubious.
Who do you think should have made the Premier League injury XI? Who have we missed out? Let us know and put us straight - just don't injure us. Please.
Dan Burt, http://www.liverpoolpies.tv