Liverpool suffer fresh COVID-19 and injuries blow ahead of Chelsea clash

Jurgen Klopp has revealed Liverpool will be without three first-team players for Sunday's visit to Stamford Bridge owing to positive COVID-19 tests.

The boss has just welcomed back Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones after the trio returned positive COVID-19 tests earlier in December, with their period of self-isolation coming to an end in time for midweek's disappointing defeat against Leicester.

However, Klopp is set to lose another three players after the club's routine testing showed three cases within the playing squad and "a few more" in the staff.

“We have three new COVID cases in the team and a few more in the staff, so it’s not so cool in the moment,” Klopp told reporters.

“I’m not [able to reveal the names] because we still have to make the whole processes, getting a proper PCR and all these kind of things, but you will see the day after tomorrow on the teamsheet. It will be pretty clear then who is affected or infected.”

With an increased number of games across the Premier League being suspended due to COVID, reporters were keen to quiz the Liverpool manager on whether the club would seek to postpone their clash against Chelsea.

“Not yet, but we don’t know," Klopp said. “We never had this kind of proper outbreak where 10, 15, 20 players had it, for us it’s more every day another one.

“Staff happens now more and more often, so as I said before it feels like a lottery in the morning when you stand there and you wait for the result. It was now pretty much day by day always one case – today another one.

“We have to wait, the boys are not even in yet, so we have to wait. In this moment, probably not but we don’t know how it will look in a few hours.”

Liverpool's concerns are compounded by the absences of Thiago and Takumi Minamino, with the duo both absent from the King Power Stadium in midweek due to muscle soreness and unlikely to feature this weekend.

Minamino is more likely of the two to be involved, however, a fresh hip injury for Thiago is undoubtedly a concern, particularly at a time when Naby Keita is set to depart for AFCON duty.

“I would say Taki is probably closer, he is running outside,” Klopp said.

“Thiago, not yet. It means for him, it might take a little bit longer. It’s a hip issue which we don’t have an idea where it’s coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that.”

Divock Origi and Nat Phillips also remain sidelined for the meeting against Thomas Tuchel's side, along with long-term absentee Harvey Elliott and the suspended Andy Robertson, who serves the last of his three-match ban.

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