Liverpool’s summer transfer deadline day loan signing Arthur was left out of their squad to face Rangers on Tuesday, with no word on why he was absent thus far.
Jurgen Klopp had the luxury of being able to name 12 players on his bench to face the Scottish outfit, but there was no place for the Brazilian.
That despite the fact he was involved in Monday’s training session and has been included in all of Liverpool’s matchday squads since his arrival on Merseyside.
Andy Robertson, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, who are working their way back from injury, watched on from behind the bench on Tuesday evening, as did young goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga, but Arthur was not present.
On Monday, Arthur took part in Liverpool’s final session before the game, but he may have been a late withdrawal from the squad due to injury or illness.
Fellow midfielder Stefan Bajcetic was named in the under-19s’ preliminary squad for their UEFA Youth League encounter earlier in the day, but was not involved in the match.
That might suggest there was a late withdrawal from Klopp’s squad, with Bajcetic taking his place on the substitutes’ bench for the first team in the evening.
Liverpool often clarify a player’s omission from the squad if it is due to injury or illness, but there was no explanation for Arthur’s absence on the night, and no comments from Klopp on the matter.
The squad arrived at Anfield wearing face masks, which has led to some suggestions that there could be a Covid outbreak in the squad, but it’s understood face masks must be worn as part of UEFA protocol.
Out of favour?
There is, of course, the possibility that Arthur was not included simply because other players were preferred ahead of him.
That would be a blow for the Brazilian, considering he is said to have cancelled his September holiday in favour of building up fitness on Merseyside, playing twice for the under-21s in that period.
He has also appointed extra fitness staff in a bid to improve his physical state, having spent the majority of the summer training away from Juventus’ main squad.
If Klopp preferred to pick others ahead of Arthur on a 12-man bench that included two goalkeepers, that would say a lot about how the coaching staff view the midfielder’s capabilities.
When will we know more?
It will be interesting to see if Arthur is included in training ahead of Sunday’s clash with Arsenal. If he’s not, we can safely assume he has picked up an injury or is ill.
However, if he does train this week, that would suggest he faces an uphill battle to convince Klopp he has a significant part to play in his team this season.
There may be an update from Klopp in his pre-match press conference, which will take place at 10:30am (BST) on Friday morning.