Football

Sadio Mane contracts Covid-19 as Klopp expresses concern over risks during international break

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has tested positive for Covid-19, while Reds manager Juergen Klopp expressed his concerns about releasing his players for international duty amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the club had struggled to get clarity from national teams over safety protocols.

The English Premier League champions released a statement confirming Mane's diagnosis on Saturday morning (Oct 3, Singapore time), saying that he displays minor symptoms but feels in good health overall.

The Senegalese, who scored in the 3-1 EPL win over Arsenal on Tuesday, is the second Liverpool player to contract the virus, after Thiago Alcantara who tested positive earlier in the week. Both are self-isolating in keeping with health protocols.

Like several other elite European clubs, Liverpool have begun their new campaign with a shortened pre-season, a cramped fixture schedule and the risk of losing players to Covid-19.

Next week’s international matches make things even more complicated for Liverpool, with Klopp saying it has been difficult for the club to make contact with national teams and manage player logistics.

“I don’t want to sound disrespectful about how other countries are doing it but this is the place that we know and we know how we are dealing with it,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday, ahead of their EPL clash at Aston Villa on Monday morning.

“So I am slightly concerned because it is difficult to be in contact with all FAs (football associations) all over the world.

“I understand it, I really understand how difficult the situation is but it’s not exactly perfect, the information we get from certain FAs.”

Klopp also accused the EPL and broadcasters of not prioritising player welfare as a number of his players will be expected to return to league action against rivals Everton on Oct 17, less than 48 hours after returning from international duty.

“We send the players away and then we have another challenge because we have to play a Premier League game on a Saturday after they have travelled from, maybe Peru, on the Thursday or Friday,” the German coach added.

“You have to make sure you bring the players home in the quickest and safest way and then we have to see how they are before we try to get a result on the Saturday.”

Klopp confirmed captain Jordan Henderson has returned to training after recovering from a muscle issue but remains a doubt for the clash at Villa Park. – REUTERS

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