EPL

Keita out but Mane & Thiago fit for derby, says Liverpool boss Klopp

By Sports Desk October 16, 2020

Naby Keita has been ruled out of Saturday's Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool, but Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane are set to be involved.

Liverpool midfielder Keita has a fitness issue but Thiago and Mane, who both tested positive for coronavirus prior to the international break, have given manager Jurgen Klopp a boost ahead of the match at Goodison Park.

The Premier League champions are looking to bounce back from their humbling 7-2 loss to Aston Villa last time out, while their local rivals are top of the table with maximum points from four games.

"Naby will not be ready," said Klopp. "Long-term of course, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not ready – but apart from that they all came back healthy from the internationals."

On Thiago and Mane recovering from COVID-19, Klopp added: "We all learn on a daily basis about it. They are in training for five or six days [now].

"Then, of course, we assess that every day. We have our specific measurements, how we do it with heart rate and how we can measure if they are more fatigued than usual and stuff like this.

"They both looked really good. We are very close with the doctors and we don’t want to – and would never – risk anybody. They are ready.

"Usually in these cases, in at least the last three, four or five days of the quarantine, the boys are already ready.

"They cannot come out of quarantine, but they are on treadmills, on the bike and so when they start training again it is not that they start from nil. They have still a proper shape, so it should be fine.

"So many things are new in the moment and this is one of the things which is really new, but we try to be as sensible as possible."

Klopp also provided an encouraging update on goalkeeper Alisson, who is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in training which meant he missed the Villa defeat.

"Very, very positive with Alisson," he said. "It looks really good. I don't have a time-frame but he made big steps."

Everton are winless in 19 Premier League meetings with Liverpool, with their last victory coming in October 2010. The winless run extends to 22 derbies across all competitions.

It is a streak Klopp is eager to continue, although recent clashes have been close - seven of the last eight top-flight derbies between the teams have ended in draws.

"Ten years for them, long may it continue from my point but we've never once thought about it," said Klopp, whose team have lost four of their last eight league away games, as many as they had in their previous 46.

"We've never had that in our mind. The hardest work for us is Saturday and we will be ready.

"I've lost enough derbies [with previous clubs] to know how it feels, I don't need that. All the games were difficult and built up like crazy.

"We were always in the games and that is what I am most concerned about. We have always respected Everton, for good reason."

The match will mark five years to the day since Klopp took charge of his first Liverpool match, a 0-0 draw with Tottenham.

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