Jurgen Klopp will miss Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea after becoming the latest Premier League manager to test positive for coronavirus.
Klopp returned a positive Covid test on Saturday morning, and will therefore be absent from the touchline at Stamford Bridge. Assistant manager Pep Lijnders will take charge of the team, with three other staff members, as yet unnamed, also set to miss the game after contracting the illness.
The Reds’ preparations have already been severely affected, with three first-team players testing positive earlier in the week.
What’s the story?
Klopp, GOAL understands, reported mild symptoms on Friday and returned a suspected positive Covid test the following day.
He is isolating while awaiting the results of a PCR test, but did not make the trip to London with his side on Saturday afternoon, and is also likely to miss Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg tie at Arsenal.
In addition, three senior players, and three other members of staff have returned positive tests since the Reds’ last fixture, the defeat to Leicester on December 28.
Liverpool will also be without five first-team players - Thiago Alcantara, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino, Nat Phillips and Harvey Elliott - due to injury.
Could the game be postponed?
Liverpool sources insist that they have not contacted the Premier League to request a postponement, and that they do not anticipate doing so at this stage.
They would, it is understood, still have enough senior outfield players, plus a goalkeeper, to complete the fixture, though that would be subject to change if more positive tests were to be recorded between now and Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been outspoken in his belief that the Premier League could have done more to help clubs deal with Covid outbreaks.
The Blues themselves are struggling due to injury and positive cases, but as things stand Sunday’s showpiece clash is set to go ahead, albeit with a number of key figures missing.