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Liverpool could be without 6 players vs. Watford after Diogo Jota update

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Liverpool face being without six players, aside from long-term absentee Harvey Elliott, as they prepare for their return to action at Watford on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds visit Vicarage Road for their first game back from an international break that saw 14 of Jurgen Klopp‘s senior players called up.

It is set to be another disruptive break for Liverpool, due to travel issues and the possibility of quarantines upon the return to England, adding to injury problems throughout the squad.

Elliott is already ruled out, with the teenager expected to miss the rest of the year as he continues work on the exercise bike at Kirkby, but two others are also unavailable and four more are in doubt.

Alisson and Fabinho will not be back in England in time for the tie, which kicks off 35 hours after the start of Brazil’s World Cup qualifier at home to Uruguay.

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at the Estádio do Dragão. Liverpool won 5-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The pair are likely to travel directly to Spain from Brazil to avoid a 10-day quarantine in the UK and allow them to feature against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, there is no guarantee either of Trent Alexander-Arnold or Thiago are back fit in time for Saturday, though it was hoped they would recover during the international break.

And now both Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota are struggling with minor injuries while on duty with the England under-21s and Portugal respectively.

Jones is set for a late test ahead of England’s U21 Euro qualifier against Andorra on Monday, while Portugal manager Fernando Santos has suggested Jota could return to Merseyside early after failing to train so far.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JUNE 15: Diogo Jota of Portugal battles for possession with Gergo Lovrencsics of Hungary during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Hungary and Portugal at Puskas Arena on June 15, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Alex Livesey - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

“He trained [individually] a while ago, increased the intensity today with [physio] Joao Brito, but he didn’t train with us,” Santos told reporters on Monday, as relayed by Mais Futebol.

“The probability will be slim. I’ll talk to him, see how he feels. If we see that he has any chance to be on the bench and then go in, that’s fine.

“If we don’t, we won’t take the risk with a player who hasn’t been able to train with us for a long time.”

Santos added: “If he can’t play, he’ll head to Liverpool.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 25, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (R) celebrates with team-mate Curtis Jones after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The nature of Jota is unclear, with it simply described as a muscle problem, but Jones is suffering with a tight groin and has already missed the U21s’ 2-2 draw with Slovenia.

If none of Jones, Thiago or Fabinho are available, and James Milner is required to cover for Alexander-Arnold at right-back, Klopp could field Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.

Fingers will be crossed, though, that minor issues are overcome and no further injuries are sustained over the coming days.

Possible Liverpool XI vs. Watford: Kelleher; Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino

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