Jurgen Klopp has reported a ‘suspected’ positive test for Covid-19 and will miss Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
Liverpool confirmed Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders will take charge for the fixture, and said no further players have been affected beyond the three previously confirmed by Klopp.
The Merseyside club said in a statement: “Jurgen Klopp will miss Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Chelsea on Sunday after returning a suspected positive COVID-19 test result.
“The Reds manager, who reported mild symptoms ahead of the fixture, is now isolating.
“Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders will therefore lead the team for the 4.30pm GMT kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
“Testing of the entire first-team set-up has revealed no further positive cases within the playing squad in addition to the three confirmed by Klopp on Friday.
Jürgen Klopp will miss our meeting with Chelsea on Sunday after returning a suspected positive COVID-19 test result.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 1, 2022
“Three backroom staff members have returned suspected positive results, however.”
Klopp revealed on Friday that three players, whom he declined to name, had tested positive for the virus and would be ruled out of the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Despite distancing himself from suggestions the game could be in danger, he described each new day as a “lottery” as he awaited news of new cases.
Bristol Rovers’ New Year’s Day trip to Leyton Orient was postponed hours before kick-off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Rovers squad.
Chelsea have slipped to four draws in their last five home league matches, and are now 11 points behind league leaders Manchester City.
And Owen doubts the Blues will be able to recover to mount a serious title challenge if they lose to Liverpool over the weekend.
“You’d have to think that they [Chelsea] have to get four points out of those two, otherwise they could be the first team out of the big three to drop out of contention,” Owen told Premier League productions.
“Liverpool are sat there, a point behind, but they have got a game in-hand. That game at Stamford Bridge – wow. That could be almost an eliminator.
“Even if Liverpool lose that one, I think they’re capable of going on a run like Man City are right now, but I don’t think Chelsea can afford any more slip-ups now. I think they need four points out of the next two.”