Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Curtis Jones are all out of their coronavirus-enforced isolation ahead of the trip to Leicester City.
The Reds called upon Thiago but were without the other three for the 3-1 victory over Newcastle on December 16 after the club announced the trio were isolating following suspected positive COVID-19 tests.
Thiago then returned a positive test before Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Tottenham three days later, with all four also missing the Reds’ victory on penalties against Leicester in the EFL Cup, prior to the postponement of their Boxing Day clash with Leeds United due to a coronavirus outbreak in Marcelo Biela’s camp.
“The boys who had to isolate are back – Fab, Virg, Curtis and Thiago,” Klopp told reporters as he provided an update at Monday’s pre-match news conference. “Thiago trained yesterday with the team.
“We have one young player who is isolating and two staff members. We don’t know which variant our guys get. We’ve seen our cases over the past two years. When you are vaccinated and boosted, you don’t get symptoms.”
Klopp added that his side were capable of facing Leeds on Sunday, though he understands the fixture had to be called off due to coronavirus issues coinciding with injury problems within Bielsa’s squad.
However, the former Borussia Dortmund head coach again vented his scheduling concerns amid a chaotic festive period.
He continued: “The situation should not be like this. I say it every year. Playing on 26th [December] 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.
“Is it the toughest [season]? I don’t know. This time of year is always tough. I can say that. It’s not a problem, it’s what we’re used to. We prepare for a long season and part of that is December/January.”
The Reds boss expects another tough task against Leicester after the Foxes were outscored in a 6-3 thriller against leaders Manchester City, who Liverpool sit six points behind with a game in hand.
“Leicester are not in a good situation,” Klopp said of Tuesday’s opponents. “They have injuries. We went out for training when it was 4-0 [to City] and then I was told it was 4-3.
“Wow! They were obviously close. They are a good team and what Brendan [Rodgers] is doing is exceptional.”
History favours Liverpool heading into their final clash of 2021, given the Reds have not lost their final league game in any of the last seven calendar years and have won three of their last four away top-flight games at the King Power Stadium.
Rodgers is likely to be without Timothy Castagne and Jonny Evans as the Foxes’ defensive issues persist, having already conceded 63 goals in 39 Premier League games this year.
Liverpool have also been boosted by the news of a delayed departure for Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita, making them available for the visits to both Leicester on Tuesday and Chelsea on Sunday.