Former champions Liverpool got some good news on Monday ahead of their upcoming clash against Leicester City as they announced the return from isolation of their four star players.
Liverpool are set to play Leicester City away and on Monday announced that Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones, and Thiago Alcantara, all of whom had to go into isolation because of Covid positive tests, are available for selection for the match.
“The boys who had to isolate are back. Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones and Thiago. Thiago was the latest, he trained with the first team again yesterday,” manager Juergen Klopp said at the pre-match press conference on Monday.
The return of the players from isolation lessens some of the headache Klopp is facing over team selection. He again raised the issue of overcrowded fixtures and said that there are too many games for top clubs as they also participate in European competitions besides domestic league and two cup competitions.
“The situation [with playing so many games in a short period] should not be like this. I say it every year. Playing on 26th and 28th is not right. I say it because it’s true. I think we can find solutions; it’s not difficult. It would help players, even with no Covid. Boxing Day is really good but then after that, we will not stop discussing it. The players need help and the coaches have to deal with these things.”
Though Liverpool had some respite because their Boxing Day match got postponed because of the Covid scare, playing two rounds of matches in three days is crazy.
“The problem is that the intensity for a top-class footballer in England is definitely at the edge. A top-class player plays 38 games, plus two cup competitions. They have international games with their national teams. Plus Champions League. It is more than 50 games. In my first season, we played the Europa League final and it was the 64th game. Burnley only have 42 games. Some players are only out when they are injured,” he said.
The Liverpool manager welcomed the idea of having five substitutions per game, though he was not optimistic about that happening anytime soon.
“You need 14 votes to change it. Some players definitely have the issue, and it is decided by other teams. That is a real problem.
“It is the right decision [to have five subs] because you bring players back after Covid or injury, and they have to play immediately. You cannot get them off after 60 minutes. The game is so wonderful because the players are in good shape and are well recovered and go for it. If we don’t do that, it is difficult.
“The best and most intense is the only league with only three subs. That is not right. We should change it but Richard Masters cannot make the decision. We need a vote. Clubs say that they do not want five subs, so I don’t see a chance to change it,” he said.
About Tuesday’s match against Leicester City, who lost 6-3 to defending champions and table-toppers Manchester City on Boxing Day.
Klopp said, “Leicester are not in the perfect situation because of injuries and probably still Covid cases. We played them a few days ago and then were pretty strong. Yesterday, we were going out to training when it was 4-0 [to Man City] and then I was told it was 4-3. Brendan Rodgers is doing a really exceptional job. Leicester will fight with all they have but we will as well. How good the game will be, we will see, but we are going there to win the game which is difficult enough.”
Leicester are really struggling defensively at the moment as was evident in their match against Man City, who could have scored more goals on Sunday.
Liverpool formers especially Mohamed Salah, who is in tremendous form, will be licking his lips in anticipation of a goal feast.