Caoimhin Kelleher starts in goal for Liverpool's Premier League fixture at Chelsea this afternoon.
The goalkeeper is named in the Reds’ XI, with Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip ruled out after returning suspected positive COVID-19 tests.
Ibrahima Konate returns in defence, while James Milner begins in midfield as three changes are made from the defeat at Leicester City last time out.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Adrian, Pitaluga, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Beck, Williams, Morton.
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Jürgen 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.
Three backroom staff members have returned suspected positive results, however.
Liverpool will definitely be without Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino for Sunday's trip to Chelsea in the Premier League due to injury.
Jürgen Klopp also reported on Friday that there were three suspected positive COVID-19 tests within the Reds' playing squad.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the boss said: "We have three new COVID cases in the team and a few more in the staff, so it's not so cool in the moment.
"I'm not [able to reveal the names] because we still have to make the whole processes, getting a proper PCR and all these kind of things, but you will see the day after tomorrow on the teamsheet. It will be pretty clear then who is affected or infected."
On Thiago and Minamino, who both missed the defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday, Klopp continued: "I would say Taki is probably closer, he is running outside.
"Thiago, not yet. It means for him, it might take a little bit longer. It's a hip issue which we don't have an idea where it's coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that."
Andy Robertson is also unavailable as he serves the final match of his suspension following a red card at Tottenham Hotspur last month.
But fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold could bring up the milestone of 200 appearances for the club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are waiting to learn the full extent of the hamstring injury Reece James suffered during their 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek.
Andreas Christensen came off at half-time in that contest with a back issue, while Thiago Silva sat it out because of a hamstring complaint. Timo Werner last appeared for the Blues on December 11.
Ben Chilwell looks set to miss the remainder of the season after recently having surgery on his knee.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel said: "Chilly, of course, has his surgery and has all our best wishes and all our energy to come back as soon as possible, but it seems like the season is over for him.
"With Reece, he still has a hamstring injury, it's a muscle injury. Like always with muscle injuries, the examination is a bit later because the images are better if you wait a bit.
"So the images will be later today I guess and then we will know more about it. That's the situation on the two wing-backs."
Chelsea 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (December 29): Mendy, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Pulisic, Kovacic, Jorginho, James, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku.
Leicester City 1-0 Liverpool (December 28): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Watch every goal Liverpool scored in the calendar year of 2021 in our free compilation.
The Reds plundered 117 strikes in all competitions from January to December as they recovered to secure third place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification at the end of last season, before fighting across three fronts during the first half of the current campaign.
Enjoy each and every one of them again in the video below.
Jürgen Klopp reported three new suspected positive COVID-19 tests among Liverpool’s playing squad.
The boss confirmed the news during his pre-Chelsea press conference on Friday afternoon as the Reds prepare to visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Klopp said: “We have three new COVID cases in the team and a few more in the staff, so it’s not so cool in the moment.
“I’m not [able to reveal the names] because we still have to make the whole processes, getting a proper PCR and all these kind of things, but you will see the day after tomorrow on the teamsheet. It will be pretty clear then who is affected or infected.”
Asked whether the situation could force Liverpool to seek a postponement of the fixture at Chelsea, Klopp replied: “Not yet, but we don’t know.
“We never had this kind of proper outbreak where 10, 15, 20 players had it, for us it’s more every day another one. Staff happens now more and more often, so as I said before it feels like a lottery in the morning when you stand there and you wait for the result. It was now pretty much day by day always one case – today another one.
“We have to wait, the boys are not even in yet, so we have to wait. In this moment, probably not but we don’t know how it will look in a few hours.”
Elsewhere, Liverpool will continue to be without Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino for the journey to London.
The duo were absent from the midweek clash with Leicester City due to muscle soreness.
“I would say Taki is probably closer, he is running outside,” said Klopp. “Thiago, not yet. It means for him, it might take a little bit longer. It’s a hip issue which we don’t have an idea where it’s coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that.”
Diogo Jota has set his sights on a winning start to 2022 as Liverpool seek to reduce their deficit at the top of the Premier League table.
After the 1-0 defeat against Leicester City on Tuesday night, the Reds now trail leaders Manchester City by nine points with a game in hand – the postponed Boxing Day meeting with Leeds United.
But with half of the league campaign still to be played and the squad aware of the necessity to prevent repeats of their loss at King Power Stadium, Jota insists everything will be given to close that gap, beginning with Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
“There are still a lot of games. Obviously there is a gap now between us and them,” the Portugal international told Liverpoolfc.com. “We know there is that gap but we also know we are able to close that gap and that’s the plan.
“But we need to avoid what happened against Leicester because if we keep doing the things we did in that game, it’s going to be hard for us. We know that. So it’s up to us to recover from that game, regroup and go again – because we are able to.”
Read on for the rest of our pre-match interview with the Premier League’s second-top scorer as he reflects on his and Liverpool’s form during 2021, assesses this weekend’s opponents, and reveals his favourite moment of the year…
You’ve had a couple of days now to reflect on the result at Leicester. The manager said you just weren’t yourselves. How do you look back on it now?
I think it’s the truth. I think everyone felt it: we were not like ourselves, we were not getting that momentum we often do. Although we had our chances to open the scoring – if we did that, the game changes, like we know. I think that was the missing part. After they scored their goal, the crowd was really up, the players were doing that extra effort and everything got harder for us and we couldn’t get the equaliser. For me, the key moment was that first goal, that could change everything. But, like I said, we were not really ourselves, we missed those chances. We have nothing to blame, just now recover, regroup and go again.
Looking back on 2021 as a whole, how pleased are you with your form and the team’s form overall? There were 16 goals for you and that’s despite you missing the first two-and-a-half months…
Yeah, the year didn’t start well, especially for me – I started the year injured. But I kind of finished strong with the team and we did a good effort in the last third of the season to finish in the top four. We got Champions League. We are in every competition. Obviously we have this gap now [to City in the table] but it’s still possible. So I think, in the end, it was a good year with all the circumstances. Now I just hope 2022 can be even better.
Any favourite football moment for you of the year, either for yourself or the team?
For the team, I could say Alisson’s goal [against West Bromwich Albion in May]. The header was obviously an incredible moment and incredibly important. For me, there were many moments – always when I’m on the scoresheet it’s a special moment. So every single moment was special, I cannot say one.
Next up it’s Chelsea this weekend. Is the size and importance of this game helpful after a defeat in trying to bounce back quickly?
It is what it is, we cannot pick who we are playing next. We know it’s Chelsea away. We drew with them at home, we know it’s not going to be easy. We both want to close that gap but we know at least one of us is going to be even further back. So, it’s a great game, a big game. We need to be at our best – I know if we do that we are able to win the game there.
They have drawn three of their last four in the league and are dealing with some injury issues, but how difficult and challenging a side are they to play against?
We know even against 10 [men] how difficult it was for us to create chances [in the game at Anfield earlier this season]. I think that’s their main thing, they don’t allow the opponent many chances. They have their injuries, but we have had ours as well, we have had our COVID cases as well, like theirs. Whoever is going to be on the pitch, 11 against 11, it will be very tough for everyone involved and a very intense game. It will be a proper Premier League game. We want to start the year well and the only way is to win the game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea normally line up with a back three. As a forward, does that change the way you play, in terms of the positions you take up or your preparations to face a three rather than a four?
Yeah, the opponent, whichever system they play always influences the gaps we try to find. It’s always hard when we are not sure how they’re going to play. Chelsea, we are not 100 per cent because we can never be that, but we know they’re going to play with three. So it’s up to us to know the spaces they leave and try to take advantage. It’s always hard when you’re not sure how they’re going to play, so that’s good.
Go behind the scenes of Liverpool's pre-Chelsea session on Thursday with Inside Training.
The Reds are now building towards their opening fixture of 2022: a trip to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this Sunday.
Their latest workout included rondos, small-sided games and a stunning finish from Andy Robertson. Take a look in the video here.
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Liverpool FC is deeply saddened by the passing of former player Steve Peplow.
Peplow, who joined the club as an apprentice in 1964, made three first-team appearances for the Reds.
The Scouser signed professional terms with Liverpool at the start of 1966 and was a prolific goalscorer for the reserves.
Having bagged 19 goals for the reserves in 1968-69, the forward earned opportunities with Bill Shankly's senior team in the following campaign.
He made his debut for the club at Anfield in a 2-0 win over West Ham United in November 1969 – the first match televised in colour on the BBC's Match of the Day – and then started the next two matches.
A loan to Swindon Town in 1970-71 turned into a permanent move, before Peplow enjoyed spells at Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town and Tranmere Rovers, where he made 272 appearances.
The thoughts of everyone at LFC are with Steve’s family and friends at this time.
RIP Steve Peplow, 1949-2021
Jürgen Klopp rued a night when Liverpool were ‘just not really ourselves’ in losing 1-0 against Leicester City on Tuesday.
The Reds suffered only their second defeat of the season in all competitions as Ademola Lookman’s 59th-minute strike separated the sides after a first-half Mohamed Salah penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel and the Egyptian’s rebound hit the crossbar.
Klopp’s men remain in second place in the table but now trail Premier League leaders Manchester City by six points at the halfway point of the campaign.
The manager provided his verdict on the game at King Power Stadium during a post-match press conference. Read a transcript below.
On how he reflects on the game…
We were just not really ourselves tonight. So, we started OK, I can’t say differently, like what I said to all your colleagues outside. I think we started OK. I didn’t like 100 per cent the intensity even in the beginning, but sometimes you have starts like this. But then we lost rhythm and never found it really back. At least we had moments where we could have played much better. They played a diamond tonight, at least for a while first half and there is no system in the world which is perfect, that means you can use these kinds of things. And especially in the diamond, if you fix the last line you can play left and right and shoot left and right of the six, that makes it really tricky. That’s quite a challenge for protection because they had Maddison on 10 and Iheanacho and Vardy up front, so it doesn’t feel comfortable but you can play that.
For these situations, you cannot and should not take always the obvious thing – when you have the ball free and you can cross and players are in the box, these kinds of things. We forced it a little bit too early, we crossed too early the balls in the first half instead of passing the extra pass. If you do that, all of a sudden the situation looks completely different. We tried to change that at half-time but for some reason it didn’t click tonight really. They scored the goal, it was clear we were under pressure, a great atmosphere. We were pushing then but didn’t use the chances, missed three headers, all these kinds of things. In the end, what I told everybody who was responsible for the Leicester performance tonight: well deserved. The story is actually nice – one of the guys who was constantly talking about we should not play the 26th and 28th plays only on the 28th and is losing against the team who plays on the 26th and 28th. Funny story, I know. So I really think in a really strange game from our side, they deserved the three points.
On the fact Manchester City could be 12 points ahead before Liverpool play again…
Yeah, Chelsea and us play against each other so we cannot both have the points obviously. I know, sorry for that. But it was not our plan tonight to give City the chance to run away or whatever. But if we play like tonight we don’t have to think about catching up with City. But if we play our football in games we have to see how often, how many points we can get and we will see what that means. How I said, I don’t have a proper explanation for tonight but finding this explanation is my main concern and not in this moment the gap with Manchester City.
On Salah’s penalty miss…
There’s not a little bit of blame or whatever. He scores usually from these situations but tonight he didn’t. It was a little bit like the whole game was. Mo is part of the team and usually he is better in this situation like the team is usually better in a football game. Tonight we weren’t and that’s why we lost.
On seeing the run of scoring in 34 consecutive games come to an end…
We needed obviously some effort not to score tonight; we had quite a few chances and we were close. It would have made the game better actually, but if I would sit here – and I know it’s easy to say – and we had won it 2-1, which was obviously possible, I wouldn’t have liked the game anyway. You can say these things like the dirty games are very important and that’s all true, but tonight I didn’t like a lot in our football game, to be honest. That’s not cool, that’s not why we do it, so we have to do better and we have a few days to talk it through, think it through, improve and go again.
Liverpool suffered a second defeat of the season as they were beaten 1-0 by Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Mohamed Salah was denied from the penalty spot on 16 minutes when his strike was saved by Kasper Schmeichel and the rebound header cannoned against the crossbar.
The Foxes’ goalkeeper then thwarted the Reds on several more occasions before Ademola Lookman came off the bench to drill the home team into the lead just before the hour.
Despite heavy pressure, the Reds were unable to find an equaliser as Leicester held on to condemn the visitors to only a second loss of 2021-22.
Liverpool were able to welcome Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho back into the starting line-up, while Curtis Jones was on the bench, after their recent positive COVID-19 tests ruled them out of the last three fixtures.
Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino were absent from the squad, however, due to minor muscle soreness.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Kelleher, Konate, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Jones, Beck, Williams.
Just six days on from the lively Carabao Cup meeting at Anfield, the opening exchanges at King Power Stadium started equally as energetic.
Liverpool had been afforded longer to prepare given their Boxing Day fixture with Leeds United had been postponed – and it was the visitors who mustered the first threat on four minutes when Salah’s header back across the box from Kostas Tsimikas’ delivery found Diogo Jota. The forward controlled before striking goalwards, but the ball was blocked by Daniel Amartey.
Leicester then offered a threat when Boubakary Soumare scooped over the before from James Maddison’s layoff before Jordan Henderson crashed a volley off target at the other end.
Then, on 14 minutes, the away team were awarded a penalty after Salah was tripped inside the area by Wilfred Ndidi. The Egyptian assumed responsibility but saw his effort saved by Schmeichel and his follow-up header hit the crossbar before the hosts cleared.
The Foxes’ goalkeeper was called into action again when he needed to block a glance from the head of Henderson following a ball into the area from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Schmeichel also thwarted Jota at close range just prior to the half-hour mark; however, the No.20 was subsequently flagged offside.
Then, with 32 played, the home team’s stopper got a touch to a swivel-and-blast from Salah after the ball had broken to him inside the six-yard box.
Leicester would next fashion their best opportunity so far when Jamie Vardy and Timothy Castagne exchanged passes inside the area, though the former’s poke goalwards was blocked by Joel Matip.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was next required to clear from in front of the line from a Maddison ball across the face of goal, but a Henderson snap-volley up the other end of the pitch just evaded the frame of the goal by a foot.
And in one minute of added time, Jota swiped wide from a loose ball inside the area as the sides went in level at the break.
Liverpool set about inspecting their hosts’ defence once again immediately after the restart – though Tsimikas needed to make a vital intervention to prevent Vardy reaching Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s delivery into the box.
On 55 minutes, the visitors spurned another opportunity when Sadio Mane scooped over from Jota’s through ball when facing Schmeichel.
Naby Keita was introduced from the bench in the aftermath, replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Leicester also made changes – and it was one of their substitutes who opened the scoring within three minutes of entering the action, with Lookman charging into the area, side-stepping a Matip challenge and drilling beyond Alisson Becker at the near post.
As the Reds pushed in search of equaliser in the game’s final stages, Salah sliced over from an Alexander-Arnold free-kick and Jota glanced wide following a Tsimikas corner.
Van Dijk was then denied by Schmeichel’s boot at his near post as he fired goalwards at another set-piece before Mane nodded down and wide soon after as Leicester held firm.
Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho return to Liverpool's starting line-up for this evening's clash at Leicester City.
The pair are named in the XI after missing the Reds’ last three outings due to returning positive COVID-19 tests, while Curtis Jones is back on the bench.
Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino miss out on the squad due to minor muscle soreness.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Kelleher, Konate, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Jones, Beck, Williams.
‘It was an important day and it changed a lot for us,’ is how Jürgen Klopp today described Liverpool’s signing of Virgil van Dijk four years ago - and he hailed the defender as being back to his best.
The Reds announced on December 27, 2017 a deal had been reached with Southampton for the services of the Netherlands captain, with the transfer finalised on New Year’s Day.
Van Dijk has gone on to make 149 appearances for the club and collected winners’ medals in the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
A serious knee injury ruled the 30-year-old out for the majority of last season, but he returned to fitness ahead of the start of the current campaign – and Klopp feels he’s now operating at his peak once more.
Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van… https://t.co/lQA74EcNru— LFC (Liverpool FC) 27th Dec 17:59
Asked for an assessment of Van Dijk’s return and his four years with Liverpool, the boss said: “Really good, really good. Long may it continue.
“The rehab worked really well so he came back in a really good shape, needed some rhythm and it was very important he got that rhythm. [He] is now back to his best for sure and what helps us a lot and what helps him a lot is that we have options around, that we don’t have to push him through in moments when his body is giving a sign that it needs to step aside for a moment, that’s very helpful and that’s why the situation is very good.
“Virgil’s arrival was obviously a big day in our common history and is a good example for a winter transfer how it works. I think a winter transfer works when you wanted to sign the player either the summer before or the summer after anyway. That was the situation, we wanted Virg in the summer already, for some reasons we couldn’t do the transfer, but then in the winter we tried again and could get it through.
“It was a very important day and changed a lot for us because in combination then with Joel, Dejan and Joey, we all of a sudden could defend in a different way, could make the pitch smaller for the opponent. That was pretty helpful and that’s why we are really happy.
“It was four years ago today? Cheers to that, then!”
Klopp also tackled questions from reporters regarding the current situation in the Premier League table during the second part of his pre-Leicester City media duties on Monday.
Liverpool trail Manchester City by six points in the standings, though the Reds have a game in hand on Pep Guardiola’s side.
Read on for the rest of what Klopp had to say…
On whether he feels Liverpool can catch City…
I think it is possible, that’s what I think what we should think because that’s why we are here, but it is difficult, it’s absolutely difficult. Imagine the consistency of City but the consistency of my boys as well in the last few years. City became champion three years ago, one point ahead of us or 11 millimetres and stuff like this. We were chasing through the whole year incredibly well. The year before, we went to the Champions League final but we lost it, so the consistency the boys show is absolutely incredible but that’s the only chance you have. In a league with probably the best team in the world, it is really tricky to be ahead of them but so far we are not completely out of reach, it’s not that we have absolutely no chance anymore, but of course you know that City will not drop a lot of points so you better not drop points yourself. What do we have to do better? First and foremost, what we have to do on the absolute top level is defending. It’s how you have to do it, it’s what gives you the chance for consistency. On top of that, I really think we improved a lot football-wise, we play some really good stuff, we are more difficult to defend than maybe we were in the past. We did some good steps. Will there be enough? I have no idea, but without being at least as consistent as we have been we have no chance and if we really want to go for the big one, we have to be even more consistent. We will see if that is possible or not, but we will give it a try.
On whether Liverpool are a better team now than the one that won the title in 2019-20…
I’m not sure it’s better because these seasons are really difficult to top. What you have to do in football is you have to find new ways and extra ways, you have to use the things you are good in and build on that. I think because the team stayed together for a longer time now, even when we lost Gini last year, the majority of the team stayed together, it helps us in developing these things. That’s why when you have a core group who have played together for a while then you can put in younger players as well, like we in the beginning of the season with Harvey, who was absolutely outstanding and massively impressive in that period. When you bring in Curtis, then that he performs is because we are that stable and, of course, his talent.
Tyler is now coming in and these kind of things and it’s possible because the rest around works well and we are there. I hope I don’t eat my words but we are more stable than we were in the past, but have to stay like this at least – that’s the minimum. We have to, we have to play flexible football, direct football, creative football, we have to defend rock solid and to force things as well in games, in the last minute, in the last second, in other moments. We had already periods in the season when we were 2-0 up and the opponent came back; it’s not that you learn it three years ago and you never will miss it again, but we had the situation this year, we learned from it and that’s what we have to do. The things we don’t do right we have to learn from and that’s what this group always, always did and it gives some reason for being optimistic. Again, the opponents are incredibly strong and even when they are not flying they win the games occasionally and that’s the situation.
On whether having lifted the Premier League trophy last time behind closed doors provides added motivation…
It is but it doesn’t mean it will be like this. Most unlucky because of City? I don’t see it like this. City and us, we pushed each other on crazy heights, to be honest. Like I said, imagine if we would have won the Champions League final the year before we won it, imagine if we would have won the Premier League the year before we won it then it would be absolutely crazy what this group of players achieved, but we didn’t win that Champions League final and we didn’t win the league. You can say it’s a point but for me it was rather 11 millimetres in the game, I think it was City against Burnley and us against City as well where it was really close, so there is nothing you can do better or whatever, it is just in these moments we were unlucky, but that’s the situation. When I think about the team in this period, there is no difference between becoming champions and coming second in that season because the performance over such a long, long time was absolutely outrageous, crazy. It is pretty much not possible, but the boys did it and didn’t stop after that. We are motivated on the highest level but it is not so much because we won the league and couldn’t celebrate it. In 10 years, 15 years, when we look back we won the league and it is now not about the party around it and stuff like this. We had a party after the Champions League final and, yes, we would like to have another party if we win something, but obviously life taught us differently. We have to appreciate the moments when we have the people around and not think too much about the moments when we don’t have them around. Just take it like it is, win what you can and carry on.
Liverpool are set to welcome four players back from COVID-19 absences at Leicester City on Tuesday night.
Thiago Alcantara, who was ruled out of the Reds' last two outings, returned to team training on Sunday, while Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk - who have missed the previous three games - are available again.
And in further positive news, Jürgen Klopp reported no fresh fitness or COVID-related issues during his pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon.
“Yeah, the boys who had to isolate, or had COVID, are back,” the boss stated.
“That means Fab, Virgil, Curtis and Thiago. Thiago was the latest, he came back and trained yesterday for the first time with the team.
“We have one young player who is now isolating and two staff. It’s really tricky, every morning when you come in it’s a little bit like a lottery. You hope it’s all fine and then one case… that’s the situation, but apart from that we are fine.”
Andy Robertson is suspended for the trip to King Power Stadium, while Divock Origi has not played since scoring the winner to defeat AC Milan at San Siro three weeks ago.
Nathaniel Phillips (fractured cheekbone) and Harvey Elliott (ankle) are out, while Adrian has been sidelined for much of December with a calf injury.
Leicester, meanwhile, are set to be without a host of senior players for the match.
Patson Daka, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu have joined the Foxes’ list of absentees, while Ryan Bertrand is a doubt after sustaining a twisted knee during the warm-up prior to their Boxing Day defeat at Manchester City.
Harvey Barnes, Jonny Evans and Danny Ward are also unavailable, with Wesley Fofana and James Justin recovering from long-term injuries.
However, Brendan Rodgers is hopeful that Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy will be ready after both were unused substitutes at Etihad Stadium.
The Leicester manager said: “Wilf has played a lot of football for us so he hasn’t had a chance to rest. To put him into [the City] game would have been really tough. Hopefully they’ll be fine for Tuesday’s game.”
Manchester City 6-3 Leicester (December 26): Schmeichel, Albrighton, Amartey, Vestergaard, Thomas, Perez, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall, Lookman, Maddison, Iheanacho.
Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (December 22): Kelleher, Bradley, Koumetio, Gomez, Tsimikas, Morton, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Williams, Firmino, Minamino.
Jordan Henderson believes Tyler Morton is benefiting from soaking up everything he can from the senior players around him.
Academy graduate Morton has made seven appearances in the Liverpool midfield so far this season, including starts in the Champions League at San Siro and each of the past two games, against Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.
Henderson has been impressed by the manner in which the 19-year-old has taken those opportunities in his stride and praised Morton for his openness to taking on board advice from others in the squad.
“Tyler has been brilliant over the last few months, I really think he has improved,” the Reds captain told Liverpoolfc.com during a chat last week.
“He has obviously learned and listened to a lot of the lads around him in training and being around the lads, in the dressing room and in training, it will certainly help him. And I think that has helped him going into games, I think he has looked comfortable and he hasn’t looked fazed at all and he has done really well.
“So hopefully he can just carry on doing that. He is a great lad as well, he has worked extremely hard and I’m sure he’ll have a big future ahead of him.”
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Alisson Becker is both pleased by Liverpool's performances so far in 2021-22 and aware that further improvements are possible for the team.
The Reds sit second in the Premier League table with the campaign nearing its halfway point, and will also be competing across three other fronts in the New Year.
A penalty shootout victory over Leicester City earlier this week sent Jürgen Klopp’s men into a Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal, they host Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup in a fortnight, and will take on Internazionale in the Champions League last 16.
“So far really good. I believe we are doing a great job here, all the team good performances,” Alisson told Liverpoolfc.com earlier this week, when asked for his verdict on the season to date.
“This period of the season is a really intense period and it’s really a mentality game. It’s really tough, physically speaking, but I believe that we are doing really well with these situations, having the results that we need. But we still have a lot of things to improve, to keep improving through the season but I’m happy about what we did so far.”
Manchester City currently set the pace at the Premier League summit, with second-placed Liverpool trailed by a Chelsea side they will face away from home next Sunday.
Before then, the Reds tackle Leicester once more, this time with a night trip to King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
Alisson admitted this phase of the season can have an important bearing on how the battle for supremacy in the top flight unfolds in the months ahead.
“Yeah, it’s a really intense moment now and everybody knows how important this moment is for the rest of the season,” said the Brazil international.
“Can you keep consistency? Can you keep winning these short games that we have, in terms of intervals between each other?
“So it’s really important for us if you look at the table, but we cannot change our focus, we just need to be focused on the next challenge, playing game by game. This is what we’ll do and think on the next challenge.”
With Alisson rested and Adrian sidelined by a calf injury, Marcelo Pitaluga was named on the Liverpool bench for the third time for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie with Leicester.
The 19-year-old has trained alongside Alisson and the senior goalkeeping contingent since joining the club from Fluminense last October, and the No.1 is encouraged by the progress of his younger compatriot.
“Yeah, Marcelo is really talented,” said Alisson. “I saw him a few times back in Brazil, but I could know more about him here as a goalie and as a person as well.
“He is a really special boy, he is really excited about having the opportunity to play for Liverpool. Now he has settled in and is doing really well in training. He is a boy who trains really hard and is really dedicated for what he is doing. And someone who likes to learn as well.
“So it is really good to work together with him, not only for being Brazilian but for being a really good talent and such a good person.”
Watch Jürgen Klopp's Christmas message now.
The boss recently sat down at the AXA Training Centre to record a special festive message for all Liverpool supporters.
And you can watch the video in full below.
Jürgen Klopp has penned a special letter to Liverpool fans around the world to mark Christmas Day.
As always, I want to wish Liverpool supporters around the world a very happy and peaceful Christmas – and I hope that wherever in the world you are reading these words, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
One year ago when I wrote this letter, I spoke about the impact the pandemic had on all of our lives, both as professionals but more importantly as human beings. Twelve months later, it continues to have a huge effect on us all, but we should also recognise that lots of positive steps have been taken in 2021 towards what we hope will be a brighter future for everyone.
Again, this last year has taught us the greatest lesson possible about the things that matter most in life and how important it is to be grateful for them.
As I write today, we are again gripped by the latest ‘wave’ of the pandemic and nobody can predict what will happen in the coming weeks, months or even days, but one thing is clear for me – we’re stronger if we face it together.
I have gone on record many times about my respect, admiration and gratitude for the frontline workers here in the UK and all over the world who have put us first before their own health and safety.
These guys are the real heroes and even though we are now into the 21st month of the pandemic, we must never forget what they have done – and what they continue to do – for you, me and everybody else.
Unfortunately, it is a fact there will be some reading these words who have lost someone due to the pandemic in the last year. Whether you are part of the Liverpool family or a supporter or another club – or even if you’re not a football follower – you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Of course, today and every day our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and the survivors. You are our daily inspiration because of the courage, strength and resilience you have shown.
Sadly, during 2021 we lost Andrew Stanley Devine who became the 97th supporter to die as a result of Hillsborough. As I mentioned at the time when he passed away, I did not know him well but I had the absolute privilege of meeting him on a few occasions when he came to Melwood for a visit and to Anfield for games. Andrew definitely made a lasting impact upon us for his incredible courage and fight.
It was an honour for me to spend some time with him and he, his family and his friends are in my thoughts today, 100 per cent.
Unfortunately, some other members of the Liverpool FC family have also left us during the last year and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Ray Kennedy, Louis Bimpson, Tommy Leishman and Phil Chisnall, as well as Gerry Marsden.
As a group of players and staff, we also had our own personal difficult moments away from football. Some of them you may know, others you will not, but in these tough times we showed what a close group we are.
As always in life, together stronger.
I see that in the work that’s done via the LFC Foundation, Red Neighbours and the various programmes to help the local community around Liverpool. I see it in the unbelievable work Fans Supporting Foodbanks does – wow, my respect for what you guys do is the highest it could possibly be.
Similarly, I would like to have a word on Alder Hey. Sadly, for the second year running we could not visit, but again we were able to try to bring some joy to some poorly children via video calls. I send a big hug and all my love to the patients and their families, as well as the world-class staff who work there.
On the pitch, it is true there were parts of 2021 that were very difficult for football reasons, particularly in the first few months of the year. We had more than our fair share of long-term injuries and we struggled for consistency and form.
But I have to say once again, the way the boys pulled it together and went 10 games unbeaten to take us back into the Champions League remains one of my absolute proudest moments as a manager.
There is a photo stuck in my mind of the final day of last season. It was taken after the game and we had 10,000 supporters back at Anfield. It shows Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams applauding the fans in front of the Kop, both of them with bruises and cuts to their faces.
For me, that image captured best what those boys achieved. We showed a real Liverpool spirit and, honestly, I could not be any more proud.
Of course, this season, the boys are flying once again and showing everybody why I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to call myself their manager. Working with them every day is a pleasure.
The same goes for the staff here at the AXA Training Centre. Really, the commitment and sacrifices they make to try to do their absolute maximum for Liverpool FC is absolutely remarkable. They all work together, each contributing in their own areas, with one common goal: to make us the best we can be. I love it.
I’d also like to say thanks and show appreciation for the many other LFC staff who work so hard each and every day for this club across the different sites. The success of the team isn’t just about what happens in Kirkby, you make a contribution towards it too. Thank you from us all.
And lastly, my thanks goes to our incredible supporters. Having you back inside a full Anfield is without any question the absolute highlight of my year.
After the game with Leicester the other night, I gave an interview in which I said how much I loved being a part of this incredible club because of how special it is, because of how much we all mean to each other. Really, I meant every word – and perhaps if I was a native English speaker, I could have said it better.
But one of the main reasons that makes this club so special, so different, is you. We saw the impact of not having you inside Anfield or with us at away games or in Europe and we felt it. Believe me, we all felt it.
Wednesday night’s game was the perfect example of the power of Anfield, why it must be a place every opponent hates to play. Without your support, the boys’ comeback would have been much more difficult. But we did it and we did it together.
As I mentioned earlier, nobody knows what the immediate future will bring, but I can promise you that we never have, and never will, take having a full Anfield for granted.
From the bottom of my heart and all of my players and staff, thank you for your commitment, sacrifice, support, love and patience over the last 12 months.
I am excited about what the next 12 months will hold for us as a collective and with you behind this group of players. I have complete confidence we will have many memorable occasions and more success together.
Each and every day I get to look these boys in the eyes, I get to see their talent and desire in training. I know they have absolute fire inside them to create more special memories with you.
I’d like to finish off where I started. We are living in historical times because of this pandemic and I am sure many of you reading this are in a similar position to me in that the events of the last nearly two years have made absolutely clear what is really important in life.
Recently, I saw a remarkable video from the club regarding a young man named Ethan, who donated bone marrow to help save the life of a girl named Libbie. Really, if you have not seen this video, watch it now. I am not ashamed to say it made me emotional.
But the reason I mention this is because it showed what we can achieve together. How being there for someone else can be the most important thing you ever do.
So today, my team talk for you is this: show those you love and care about what they mean to you, enjoy your time with them because it’s precious, reach out to those who you can’t be with in person using the technology we have and take a moment to remember those who’ve sadly left us.
However you choose to mark today, however you choose to celebrate, I wish you and your families health, happiness, peace and love.
All my love,
Liverpool's men's squad got into the festive spirit by posing for their pre-Christmas photo before Friday's training session.
As is tradition, the Reds took time out ahead of their Christmas Eve workout to put on Santa hats and pose for the camera.
See for yourself below.
Liverpool FC can confirm the fixture with Leeds United at Anfield on December 26 has been postponed.
The Boxing Day encounter will be rescheduled after the Premier League ruled it was unable to go ahead following the number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Leeds squad.
Information for supporters who were due to attend the game, as well as its revised date, will be made available via Liverpoolfc.com in due course.
Tickets purchased for this match will remain valid for the new fixture date. The club will email all supporters who have purchased a ticket with details on refunds for those unable to attend the rescheduled date. Please don’t contact fan services on this matter.
Liverpool FC would like to thank fans of both clubs for their understanding as we continue to navigate through this challenging period.