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Kostas Tsimikas’ start at Liverpool dealt blow with illness on Greece duty

Kostas Tsimikas was forced to miss Greece’s international break opener against Slovenia due to illness, nine days before Liverpool return to Premier League action.

Tsimikas was absent as Greece drew 0-0 with Slovenia in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday night, with the left-back’s omission from the matchday squad confusing supporters.

It has now been revealed that the left-back, along with centre-back Vasilis Lampropoulos, was ruled out through illness, with Tsimikas forced to remain at the team hotel.

Greek outlet stress, however, that both players tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday, though elsewhere it has been claimed Tsimikas is now in isolation.

The situation highlights how cautious national teams are being regarding any possible outbreak while on duty, which will reassure Jurgen Klopp.

“We trust a lot that the FAs will be really responsible for that,” he said before 11 first-team players departed for internationals this month.

However, Tsimikas being unable to feature for Greece nine days before Liverpool’s Premier League opener at home to Leeds on September 12 could cast doubt over his involvement upon returning.

Andy Robertson is expected to start that clash regardless, while James Milner will be able to fill in if Tsimikas is ruled out.

Lampropoulos had recovered enough to watch Greece’s draw in the stadium on Thursday, and the hope is that the Reds’ No. 21 is not stricken for much longer either.

Liverpool have already seen Divock Origi withdraw from duty with the Belgium national team due to injury, with the forward now returning to full fitness and training at Melwood.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Tuesday, August 25, 2020: Liverpool's substitute Kostas Tsimikas during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

It is likely that Klopp will ease Tsimikas into the side slowly, particularly as he is not cemented as first-choice left-back, but he could expect to see plenty of action before the end of September.

The Reds could play five competitive games this month, including twice in the League Cup, with the third round set for September 22/23 and, if they progress, the fourth round on September 29/30.

Tsimikas could fill in for Robertson for both of those ties, while his first forays into Premier League action are more likely to come as a substitute.

Either way, Klopp will be hoping his illness does not keep him sidelined for too long, and it could be that he is now withdrawn from the Greece squad, with Kosovo their next opposition on Sunday evening.

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