Liverpool squad hit by three new Covid cases before trip to Chelsea

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    Testing reveals three more Covid-19 cases among Liverpool players; the number is not large enough to request a postponement of the Chelsea match, according to Jurgen Klopp.

    Liverpool has three new positive Covid-19 cases, but manager Jurgen Klopp believes the game against Chelsea on Sunday is not yet in jeopardy.

    Jurgen Klopp concedes "too many performances below normal level" -  Liverpool FC - This Is Anfield
    Jurgen Klopp concedes “too many performances below normal level”.

    Klopp refused to name the trio because they were still awaiting PCR test results, but those affected, as well as Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino, will be absent from Stamford Bridge.

    “Taki is outside, but Thiago isn’t.” On top of that, we have three new Covid cases in the team and a few more on the staff, so things aren’t looking good right now,” Klopp explained.

    “I can’t say who it is, but it’ll be pretty obvious on the teamsheet the day after tomorrow.”

    “We’re not close to getting the game rescheduled just yet.” We haven’t had a full-fledged outbreak yet, but it’s becoming more common.

    “When you wait for the results in the morning, it’s like a lottery.” It was a new case every day, and today was no exception.”

    Liverpool’s match against title rivals Chelsea is crucial, with leaders Manchester City threatening to pull away at the top of the table.

    Liverpool’s second league defeat of the season at Leicester on Tuesday, combined with City’s 1-0 win at Brentford in midweek, leaves Klopp’s side nine points behind the champions heading into the New Year’s fixtures.

    Klopp, on the other hand, is not giving up on the title just yet.

    “Winning football games is the only way to catch anyone who’s ahead of you,” he added. “And that’s already proving difficult. We play against Chelsea, who are dealing with similar issues as we are. I’m not entirely sure what the situation is at Chelsea is, but that’s most likely the case.

    “We go there and try everything – it’s a tricky place to visit in any case.” You don’t win there with an average performance, so we should be concerned with how good we can be in order to play the best football game possible.

    “We can now discuss our last game, which we obviously did not enjoy.” Even if we hadn’t played at our best, we should have won the game against Leicester if we had converted our chances.

    “Of course, we have to demonstrate that we can do much better, and that’s what we’re doing now because we can’t catch City unless we play good football.”

    Expected line-up

    Chelsea vs Liverpool: Predicted line-ups, kick off time, how and where to  watch on TV and online | Marca
    Chelsea vs Liverpool: Predicted line-ups, kick off time

    Caoimhin Kelleher at the goal.

    Klopp did not reveal who was involved in the three new COVID-19 cases, but the Liverpool Echo reported that goalkeeper Alisson Becker was a notable absentee from Thursday’s training session.

    This could provide a chance for academy graduate Kelleher to earn his first start following his EFL Cup heroics.

    Prior to Christmas, the Irishman saved two penalty kicks in a shootout victory over Leicester.

    He is highly regarded at Anfield and is more than capable of making his Premier League debut.

    Van Dijk returned from self-imposed exile last week to play in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester.

    Ibrahima Konate had performed admirably as a substitute, but the Frenchman will once again be left out.

    Andy Robertson is scheduled to serve the final game of his three-match suspension, giving Tsimikas another opportunity at left-back.

    Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Naby Keita are among for midfield.

    Thiago Alcantara has suffered a setback with his injury following his recovery from COVID-19.

    The Spaniard was ruled out of the rematch against Leicester due to a hip injury.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given a chance to impress but was substituted for Keita in that defeat.

    The Guinean may begin his career at Stamford Bridge.

    Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, and Sadio Mane for the attackers.

    Roberto Firmino, like Alisson, was conspicuously absent from a couple of training sessions this week. This could provide Jota with another opportunity to begin.

    Premier League clubs have been granted an extension to release players for the African Cup of Nations, which means Salah and Mane will be available to face Chelsea.

    Salah will be looking to avenge his missed penalty against Leicester.

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