Liverpool have had little luck in the way of injuries so far this season and Covid cases have only added to the demand on the squad during an intense period.
Like many other clubs, the Reds have had to navigate their way through both injuries and Covid cases, many of which have been detected on the eve or day of fixtures.
Against Chelsea, Liverpool were without three first-team players due to the virus in addition to the manager, while a handful of backroom staff members have also contracted Covid.
It’s the latest in a handful of cases with the likes of Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Curtis Jones having only recently returned from their isolation period.
The vaccination and booster status of the club has made for swift recoveries but just when could we expect the current Covid group to return?
Who has tested positive?
Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip were the three players Jurgen Klopp confirmed had tested positive during his press conference on Friday.
They first went unnamed before it was officially revealed ahead of kickoff at Chelsea.
The Brazilian pair were both absent from training on Thursday (Dec 30), while Matip was in attendance – meaning he tested positive on Friday (Dec 31).
Klopp himself was then forced to miss the trip to the capital after a positive test result on Saturday (Jan 1), taking the cases for senior personnel to four within a three-day period.
When can they return?
The change in UK guidelines has seen the self-isolation period cut from 10 days to seven after the day of a positive test.
That is so long as two negative lateral flow results are received on day six and day seven.
Using the date which they tested positive and the new seven-day isolation, the earliest date and game the players and Klopp could then return is as follows:
- Alisson – Isolation ends: Jan 6, next game: Shrewsbury (H), Jan 9
- Roberto Firmino – Isolation ends: Jan 6, next game: Shrewsbury (H), Jan 9
- Joel Matip – Isolation ends: Jan 7, next game:Shrewsbury (H), Jan 9
- Jurgen Klopp – Isolation ends: Jan 8, next game: Shrewsbury (H), Jan 9
It has already been stated that the manager has experienced “mild symptoms” and that could mean the isolation period is to be extended, and the same goes for the players.
This could then push each beyond the FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury and to the second leg at home to Arsenal in the League Cup, as one must also factor in their recovery and training.
And who is on the injury list?
The uncertainty of further Covid cases does make managing the squad increasingly complex, with injuries also adding to the load on others.
In addition to the positive cases, Liverpool currently have Thiago, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino, Nat Phillips and Harvey Elliott on the injury list.
But Pep Lijnders offered a hint that Origi and Minamino are due back soon which will be a major boost for the attacking options after Mo Salah and Sadio Mane departed for AFCON.
Andy Robertson‘s return from suspension will be similarly welcomed but there is always the possibility of further Covid cases as football continues to reflect the trend of the wider society.