Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the quartet of players who had to isolate because of coronavirus are now back in contention.
Like a host of Premier League clubs, the Reds have suffered Covid-19 cases in their ranks in recent weeks. Indeed, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara have all recently spent time out.
Thiago played in the 3-1 comeback win over Newcastle. However, he missed the 2-2 draw with Tottenham last Sunday and Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Leicester.
Van Dijk, Jones and Fabinho, meanwhile, missed all three of those matches.
Still, they have all now properly recovered and are in contention to face the Foxes in Tuesday’s Premier League clash.
“The boys who had to isolate are back,” the manager told his pre-match press conference.
“That means Fab, Virgil, Curtis and Thiago. Thiago was the latest, he trained for the first time yesterday [Sunday] with the team.”
Klopp added, though, that one young player and two staff members who are now isolating.
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Indeed, he compared every day to a “lottery” as the Premier League deals with the Omicron wave of coronavirus. Liverpool’s Boxing Day clash with Leeds did not go ahead as planned, with the Yorkshire club unable to field a team.
Meanwhile, two matches – Leeds v Aston Villa and Arsenal v Wolves – will also have to be rearranged.
Klopp denied that this season is proving to be his toughest ever as a coach, but he did raise – not for the first time – his opinions on a number of issues connected with the hectic schedule alongside the coronavirus postponements.
One of those was the five substitutions rule, which Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel called for again following his side’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
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The top six clubs are in favour of allowing extra substitutions. However, the other 14 clubs have rejected it in past meetings due to their comparative lack of squad depth.
Klopp acknowledged those concerns but said that players can often get to “50 games or higher” each season when considering the Premier League, cup competitions, the Champions League and international commitments.
“It’s a real problem [without five subs]. You bring players back after a Covid infection or injury and because of the games you have to play, they have to play immediately,” he said.
“And then they go out again because you cannot get them off after 60 minutes. This wonderful game is so wonderful because usually the players on the pitch are in good shape, well-trained, are well-recovered and they go for it.
“That’s why we love the game. Now, the situation is clear. If you don’t do that, it’s just much more difficult.”
Liverpool lost 3-1 away at Leicester last season, despite taking the lead in the second half.