Liverpool’s exact numbers for Sunday’s game have remained on the down-low but they have had to search “nearly everywhere” for players, but just who could they be?
We know that the Reds experienced a major outbreak at the training ground that affected players and staff alike, but the names of those who newly tested positive remain unknown.
But it has forced Liverpool to look deep within their ranks for the visit of Shrewsbury, with assistant manager Peter Krawietz, standing in for Jurgen Klopp, having admitted to having searched “nearly everywhere” for a squad.
It has opened the door for the club’s youth to step up as Liverpool looked for “solutions,” making it a rather difficult job to predict how the Reds could lineup.
Instead, we’re going to take a look at just who could feasibly feature, but bear in mind the Covid cases have not been confirmed and more could arise before kickoff.
Starting off with some good news, Joel Matip returned to training on Friday – which was the first possible moment following on from his positive Covid result on December 31.
Previously, Liverpool have been firm in their stance of not rushing players back from Covid and therefore they “have to see if he is available or not,” but they could have little choice.
The same goes for Alisson and Roberto Firmino. Neither were confirmed to have returned to training but were able to leave isolation from Thursday so long as they recorded negative tests.
The trio could, therefore, feature in the squad alongside the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones having already returned from Covid in mid-December.
Meanwhile, Tyler Morton conducted an interview with the club’s official website on Friday to all but confirm his availability, making for at least seven senior faces.
It will then be a case of who managed to dodge Covid with 11 other first-team members unaccounted for, injured players aside.
In the academy ranks, starting with the higher age group, there are a handful of options should they have avoided recording a positive test.
Krawietz did confirm that “the under-23s had Covid cases as well” and a “few are back now” to select.
But Leighton Clarkson, on return from his loan spell at Blackburn, is to be part of the occasion with Krawietz saying “he will probably join the squad.”
There will also be the possibility of the likes of Billy Koumetio, James Norris, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Max Woltman, Conor Bradley and Owen Beck having a role having all already made their senior debut.
You can then add Jarell Quansah and 17-year-old Kaide Gordon to the mix, who has not featured for Klopp’s side since his debut at Norwich in September, while James Balagizi‘s time may have finally arrived after his injury return.
Turning then to Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s squad, who saw their FA Youth Cup game on Friday postponed, there are a handful of options that Klopp and co. can turn to.
Goalkeeper Harvey Davies, centre-back Stefan Bajcetic, left-back Luke Chambers, prolific forward Oakley Cannonier and Mateusz Musialowski are all leading figures at the level.
Melkamu Frauendorf and Harvey Blair, the latter of whom started at Preston for his debut in the League Cup, could also be in contention for an opportunity.
Liverpool could yet have to look deeper into their talent pool with the Covid cases not yet public knowledge, but there is plenty of talent at various levels to tap into for the tie.
And Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill has already said he will “100 percent” respect whatever side Liverpool lineup as Klopp is “entitled to play whichever team he sees fit.”