Liverpool have insisted that while Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri have been absent for the majority of pre-season, this does not indicate an expected departure.
The Reds have enjoyed a productive pre-season so far, with a 3-0 victory over Stuttgart and a 2-2 draw with Salzburg, the latter played at high intensity in front of a reduced crowd.
Now they are preparing for the Community Shield against Arsenal, before a likely final friendly or two in the buildup to the Premier League, which begins on September 12.
While both flew out with the first team for their training camp in Austria earlier in August, neither Origi or Shaqiri trained regularly with the group, and were not involved against Stuttgart or Salzburg.
This has led to speculation over their futures, with the pair believed to be made available for transfer this summer if the right bid arises—Aston Villa have already been linked with Origi.
However, The Athletic‘s James Pearce reports that “senior sources at Anfield insist that both [Origi and Shaqiri] are nursing minor injuries and that nothing else should be read into their absence.”
It is not uncommon for players to be ruled out through injury while negotiations continue over a possible move away—case in point Philippe Coutinho, whose unrest in the summer of 2017 was explained by a convenient back problem.
But if the club’s word is to be believed, Origi and Shaqiri could be involved heading into the new campaign, and this could begin on Saturday.
It may be telling, however, that Origi has been named in the Belgium squad for the start of September. Switzerland have yet to name their selection for clashes with Ukraine and Germany, but Shaqiri is expected to be included.
Liverpool’s squad depth has been decidedly thin throughout pre-season, with few chances given to fringe figures due to the shortened break between seasons, as Jurgen Klopp instead calls upon young hopefuls like Billy Koumetio.
The likes of Kamil Grabara, Sheyi Ojo, Ben Woodburn, Yasser Larouci and Taiwo Awoniyi have not been involved ahead of summer moves, though Loris Karius has trained and Marko Grujic has featured in both friendlies so far.
Harry Wilson is another player claimed to be out through injury, though the Welshman has also been called up for international duty next month.
Liverpool have a host of other injury problems in the leadup to the start of 2020/21, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the latest to be sidelined with a knee injury.
It remains to be seen when Oxlade-Chamberlain will return, but Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold are due back shortly.