Liverpool are back in action Thursday when they take on Manchester City in the League Cup, though between injuries and late-returning World Cup stars it will be a mixed squad, with some youth players expected to get a chance as is often the case in England’s second cup competition.
That was the message from Pepijn Lijnders on Wednesday, with Jürgen Klopp’s assistant talking about the status of the likes of Joël Matip, Naby Keïta, Curtis Jones, and Diogo Jota who headed into the World Cup break dealing with injuries.
“Joël and Naby are in full team training,” Lijnders noted. “Curtis is one week away and Diogo is in the timeframe we expected so it’s going well. He was there in Dubai, in all the meetings and video meetings. And of course Luis Diaz is not available but that’s it.”
That could mean minutes for Matip and Keïta, while Jones and Jota are likely to return early in the new year. Diaz is the long-term absence, recently undergoing surgery and expected to now miss around three months as a result.
It’s also likely that Lijnders and Klopp will be without the club’s English, Brazilian, and Dutch World Cup stars Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Fabinho, and Virgil van Dijk for Thursday—and they’re certain to be without France’s Ibrahima Konaté.
“The plan for them was always to have a certain amount of time off,” he added. “The boys who were not at the World Cup had time off to recharge and get some sun, then the boys out early at the World Cup came to Dubai, then the ones who went out late reported two days ago.”