Antonio Conte had something of a warning for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp on Friday. The Tottenham Hotspur boss is dealing with a similar problem to the Reds.
It’s no secret that Tottenham Hotspur and Antonio Conte have had a tough time recently. They’ve seen games suspended as Covid-19 problems continue to haunt them.
As it stands, they should face Liverpool on Sunday in what would be their first fixture since December 6th. But players are starting to return for them and Spurs’ squad is a little stronger.
Conte, though, says things aren’t that easy – the effects of players’ absences will hit the team for a little while yet.
“When the players are back from COVID, for sure you have to pay great attention,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com.
“You can’t give them the same charge of work as other players. You have to pay attention. If you want everything very soon, you risk injuries. In this situation you have to take the risk and at the same time pay great attention. They need time to be fit.
“Also, before picking the starting XI you have to take into consideration all of this. For instance, to start with one player and after 60 or 70 minutes change him with one player who had COVID.”
And that is a bit of a warning to Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool & Klopp to heed Conte warning
Conte is right – players can’t just rush back as if nothing happened. Spurs will have to treat this as an injury, given the lack of match-fitness over the last few weeks.
And Liverpool, who potentially have their own similar concerns, will have to pay attention. Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones all posted initial positives on Thursday and missed the win over Newcastle United.
Now, it’s possible that all three will turn out to be negative – but that feels unlikely. Instead, they could be out for some time, both with isolation and then as they regain their match fitness.
Van Dijk, in particular, will need care. This could be his first serious absence since returning from his awful knee injury – Liverpool certainly can’t take risks there.
This could be a blow that affects Liverpool into 2022, then, as they follow in Spurs’ footsteps. And that seems like a best-case scenario, to be honest.