Antonio Conte expresses Liverpool fears as he details extent of Tottenham’s Covid problems

Conte gives verdict on Tottenham's win over Brentford

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Antonio Conte has revealed the true extent of how the coronavirus has ravaged through his Tottenham squad as he prepares for Sunday’s clash against Liverpool. The Italian tactician has been left down to the bare bones due to a series of positive Covid tests within the Spurs camp.

The situation had become so bleak that Conte was even forced to use mannequins in training instead of players due to absences.

Tottenham have seen three of their last matches postponed due to the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The club’s training base in Enfield was also shut down to limit the spread after several players and staff were found to have tested positive.

Tottenham have not played a match since December 5 and, after their latest match against Leicester was called off, the club’s request to play their Europa Conference League tie against Rennes was denied by the Premier League.

There are no current plans to halt the season as it did in March 2020 when the first outbreak reached the British Isles.

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But Conte’s account of how his side were left without enough bodies to train with paints a worrying picture ahead of the festive period.

“For sure the situation is not simple,” the former Inter Milan and Chelsea coach said.

“For three days we didn’t have a training session and then we had a training session with only 10, 12 players, because the U23 players also had Covid.

“Now for two, three days I have a squad without two, three players.

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“Now we are having full training sessions but for sure, it wasn’t easy to face this situation and to train the players.

“To have 12 players is very difficult. To try something under a tactical aspect, usually if you want to try to play a formation you need 20 players and it’s not simple to do this.

“You have to train with mannequins and I stopped. It’s not easy. It’s not the same thing.”

Spurs have quietly returned to form since Conte replaced the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo in November, going unbeaten in his first four matches with three wins.

But they now face a difficult test in going up against in-form Liverpool side, who have won eight consecutive matches in all competitions and sit second in the Premier League table.

The north London side’s record against Jurgen Klopp’s side will give Conte another cause for concern, with Spurs losing all seven of their last meetings with the Reds.

The 54-year-old acknowledged the scale of the task and hailed the Merseyside club as one of the best sides in Europe.

But he has challenged his players to make life difficult for Klopp’s side.

“Liverpool is one of the best teams in Europe and also in the world for what they are doing and for what Jurgen created in these years,” he added.

“We’ll face difficulty but we have to know that during the game there are moments we must be ready to suffer.

“At the same time we have prepared the game to try, when we have the ball, to create problems for Liverpool.”

Spurs have three games in hand on their arch rivals going into the final weeks of 2021, and Conte’s men can move within a point of fourth-placed Arsenal if they win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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