Liverpool’s preparation for the upcoming Merseyside derby has been handed a huge boost as both Sadio Mané and Thiago Alcántara have returned to training.
The pair were both forced into a period of self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 before the international break. Thiago missed two games, while Mané was only absent for one.
Their respective isolation periods are up, and as noted by The Mirror, both players have now tested negative twice and have been permitted to return to training in the build-up to the meeting with Everton on 17th October.
However, there is less optimism about midfielder Naby Keïta. The Guinea international tested positive for COVID-19 while away on international duty and Liverpool are now awaiting the results of a second test as confirmation.
FOOT 224 note that the Guinea squad actually ended up going on strike over a number of issues, one of which was the lack of social distancing in the camp. Players have been forced to share bedrooms, which has contributed to five players testing positive for COVID-19.
Should this second test come back negative, Keïta could be free to return to training and may even feature in Saturday’s game, with both Mané and Thiago expected to start as well.
The trio are well-rested, having obviously missed international matches this week, and manager Jürgen Klopp could look to them as he seeks to ensure Liverpool’s title defence does not get derailed by the crushing 7-2 loss to Aston Villa before the break.
The Reds currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, having won three of their first four games. They are actually level on points with second-placed Villa, but it’s their goal difference of zero which will be most concerning to Klopp.
While Liverpool have netted 11 goals in just four games, they have also conceded that many. That tally is ahead of only the 13 conceded by West Brom and is level with Fulham and Manchester United for the second-poorest record in the division.
Liverpool only conceded 33 times last season and arguably could have kept that tally down if they didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal after cantering to the league title, so it’s something Klopp will want to address quickly.