Liverpool find themselves in the midst of a crowded fixture list while dealing with injuries, Covid absences, and the looming African Cup of Nations that will deprive them of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, and Naby Keïta following their game against Chelsea.
It’s their opponents for that match, though, who might just be having a harder go of it on the player availability front, leading manager Thomas Tuchel to rule his side out of the Premier League title race before they meet fellow Manchester City-chasing Liverpool.
“How should we compete in a title race?” an exasperated Tuchel asked rhetorically following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Brighton. “Everyone who has a full squad has the power to come through this. We would be stupid to think we can do it with Covid and injuries.
“This is the reality, this is where we are, and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation we are in. We competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home, but I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity, or minutes.”
Chelsea will have Romelu Lukaku available for their game against Liverpool but will expect to be without Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek with Andreas Christensen and Reece James also doubtful to take part in Sunday’s top four clash.
“Nobody knows because we have never done something like this,” he added. “We play by trial and error and will see what we can do, but I will protect my team. We can play better but we need the full squad over weeks and weeks.”