Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Alisson, Fabinho back in contention for Liverpool with Jota not far behind despite illness

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Mar 2021

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Alisson and Fabinho are back in contention for Liverpool ahead of Thursday’s clash with Chelsea, and Diogo Jota could potentially return if he manages to shake off an illness.

Brazil international goalkeeper Alisson missed the 2-0 weekend win at Sheffield United following the death of his father, with Adrian deputising at Bramall Lane.

It was not immediately clear how long Alisson would be absent for, but Klopp confirmed on Wednesday that he has trained all week and is in line to face Chelsea at Anfield.

Alisson’s international colleague Fabinho has also been out lately, missing each of Liverpool’s previous four matches across all competitions due to a muscular injury.

He will return to the squad as well on Thursday, though Klopp was a little less certain regarding Jota, who has not played since damaging knee ligaments in December.

However, the doubt surrounding the former Wolves star only relates to a stomach complaint, rather than a setback with his knee.

“Ali trained full week, so yes, we should expect he is ready to return,” Klopp told reporters. “Fab has now five or six sessions in his legs, we have to make a decision about how we deal with that, but he looks good, he’s ready for squad for sure.

“And Diogo had now a little stomach problem, or whatever you can say. He trained yesterday only a little bit – he was only out there for the warm-up, rondo and a little run, so…

“We got the message this morning that he feels better so we’ll see what we can do with that. Before, he was doing exceptionally well but unfortunately got ill overnight and now we have to see how big the steps are that he can make towards the team again.”

Fabinho has played much of the season away from his natural role in midfield, instead filling in as a centre-back such has been Liverpool’s struggle with injuries.

Klopp was unsure whether he will be required at centre-back again, though he made no secret of how important he felt it would be to restore some familiarity to the midfield.

“Both [Fabinho in defence and midfield] is possible, which is good, it gives us options,” he said. “If we can find a way to play him in midfield, that would be helpful.

“Our most consistent player this season is probably [Georginio] Wijnaldum, touch wood and long may it continue. He’s played as a number six and pretty much all other positions, but with Fab in as a six would be helpful in some games. We will see. Both positions are intense.

In the past we had to play the players when they came back immediately because another player left pitch injured the game before, this time we don’t have to do that.

“That’s the first time, maybe. There’s still a lot of games to come, so we’ll see – is Fab close enough to start or is he only ready for the bench? Then which positions. These decisions are still to be made, though even if I had made them already, I wouldn’t tell you exactly what my decision was.”

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