Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp watched his side’s 2-2 Premier League draw against Chelsea from home isolation on Sunday, after a suspected positive coronavirus test.
His assistant Pep Lijnders took charge for the fixture at Stamford Bridge but couldn’t claim all three points. Liverpool were also missing three players who caught the virus. But they raced in to a two goal lead after strikes from Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, before a sensational Mateo Kovacic effort and a Christian Pulisic goal leveled it up before halftime. Despite plenty of chances, neither side could add to their tallies after the break.
Klopp, coaching staff and 3 players affected
Klopp announced Friday that three then-unnamed players had tested positive, and this week complained that each new day was a “lottery” as he waited to discover if any others had got the virus.
Earlier in the month, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Curtis Jones went into isolation after positive tests.
The quartet returned to training earlier this week but three other members of Liverpool’s backroom staff then tested positive before the club announced that goalkeeper Alisson Becker, striker Roberto Firmino and center back Joel Matip had all returned “suspected positive tests” on the eve of the game. All three are first team regulars.
If Klopp’s positive test is confirmed as expected, the German will also miss the League Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal on Thursday.
The draw was a blow to both teams as they strive to keep pace with leaders Manchester City, who are now 10 and 11 points ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, though Klopp’s men have a game in hand.
The Premier League has been ravaged by COVID outbreaks since December.
In total, 17 English top-flight matches have been postponed due to COVID so far, including Liverpool’s game against Leeds on Boxing Day.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta missed Saturday’s game against Manchester City after a positive test.
Klopp lost his mother to COVID last year in Germany, and could not return to his home country for the funeral due to travel restrictions.
mm/rs/mp (AFP, Reuters)