Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been handed a timely boost ahead of his side’s crunch Merseyside clash with Everton. The Reds travel to Goodison Park looking to bounce back from their humiliating 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa immediately before the international break.
For the first time since September 1989, the Toffees head into the cross-city clash above their neighbours in the table as their 100 per cent record has them top of the Premier League going into the game, three points ahead of the Reds.
And even though Carlo Ancelotti’s men have not won any meeting between the two for a decade – Saturday is the 10th anniversary of their last victory – the pressure is certainly on Klopp’s reigning champions to overcome their fierce rivals.
And the visiting manager will be boosted by the return of Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara, who both missed their shock defeat at Aston Villa after testing positive for Covid-19.
However with players having flown back in from around the world this week, there remains the potential for more positive tests with Naby Keita already unavailable after a coronavirus outbreak within the Guinea squad.
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It is understood Liverpool were test their players again ahead of the game, meaning Klopp has to prepare for late withdrawals ahead of the 12.30pm kick-off at Goodison Park.
“We make a decision, then sometimes we have to think over it again because something else comes in between,” he added.
“Most of the (international) FAs were very serious on their testing programmes. We brought most of the players back as much as we could in private planes where they don’t get in contact with anybody else.
“When you come back from international teams, you don’t have to do a testing before you play in the Premier League but we do it and then we wait for the results.
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“We would expect them to be negative.”
Klopp will again be without first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who missed the defeat at Villa in which stand-in Adrian was at fault for the opening goal that set the tone for a sobering night.
The Reds boss was able to offer an encouraging update on the Brazil international’s recovery from a shoulder injury sustained in training which looks set to keep him out until next month.
Klopp added: “Very, very positive with Ali. Looks really good. Made big steps. I don’t have a time frame but it looks really good.”
Meanwhile Everton expect Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne to be fit despite minor fitness scares on international duty for Colombia and France respectively.
That means new arrival Ben Godfrey will likely have to wait for his chance to break a settled back line, with Allan and Andre Gomes pushing for recalls in a competitive midfield.
The Everton boss believes his table-topping Everton side will find out just how good they really after facing off with city rivals Liverpool.
“I think it will be good for us to have this kind of test. They are the best, they were the best last season and one of the best teams in the world, so it’s a fantastic challenge,” said Ancelotti.
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