A Tweet from the LFCHelp Twitter account shortly after the Arsenal postponement stated that: “The match against Shrewsbury on Sun 9th Jan is still scheduled to go ahead but please keep checking our website for updates.”
However, with the training ground closed – and expected to be for the duration of Wednesday and Thursday at the least, just how Liverpool could fulfil Sunday’s fixture is far from clear.
Theoretically, they could train on Friday and Saturday with the players available – but how many players that is, is far from clear.
What we know
The Brazilian duo would be able to return to training from Thursday, and Matip from Friday. That’s if they aren’t showing symptoms and get negative tests on the last two days of their isolation period.
Jurgen Klopp could also be able to return
However, he has been showing symptoms and would, again, need to be testing negative on his final two days of isolation. That seems doubtful.
“Significant” number of positives
What the club have said is that there are a “significant” number of cases, and that “the outbreak has left Liverpool without a sufficient number of players and staff to fulfil the contest as originally scheduled.”
So provided that Origi and Minamino don’t have covid, they could be back. Possibly.
Andy Robertson could be back
Robertson has served his three-match ban, so again, he would be eligible if he hasn’t contracted covid.
Pep Lijnders is out
The assistant tested positive on Tuesday, so won’t be able to return from isolation until next Tuesday at the earliest possible date.
What we don’t know
How many cases Liverpool actually have
This is the crux of it. After Klopp had called for more transparency from clubs over covid cases last month, Liverpool haven’t been forthcoming with stating exactly how many cases they have had this week.
All we know is that they had positive cases among the players and staff on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings – leading to the closure of the training ground and the postponement of the Arsenal game.
Liverpool will be keen to get this game played. If there is any way that it can go ahead, it will be.
Klopp will not want another postponement and thus another date to fit into the calendar.
If Alisson, Matip and Firmino are okay, plus Robertson, Origi and Minamino, that helps with the squad numbers.
The major issue though is that anyone who tested positive on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will be unavailable on Sunday – and that is a “significant” amount.
As things stand, Sunday’s game can only be considered doubtful, but much depends on if Liverpool reveal the exact number of cases within the playing squad once initial suspected positive lateral flow tests have been confirmed by PCR tests.
Clear as mud, eh.