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Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate to miss Aston Villa clash

Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate to miss Aston Villa clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Ibrahima Konate will not return to training until after Monday’s Premier League showdown with Aston Villa.

The centre-back recently became a World Cup runner-up with France, playing five games in Les Bleus’ run to the final and starting in his side’s semi-final win against Morocco.

Konate filled in for the ill Dayot Upamecano in that game before falling victim to the virus himself before the final with Argentina, which France lost on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

The 23-year-old was fit enough to play seven minutes of the World Cup final and has since been granted time off to recover, which will render him unavailable for the Boxing Day clash.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, Klopp revealed that Konate was not due to return to training on December 27, the day after Liverpool and Aston Villa lock horns in the West Midlands.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on December 22, 2022© Reuters

The former RB Leipzig man could therefore return for the visit of Leicester City to Anfield on December 30 or Liverpool’s opening clash of the New Year away to Brentford on January 2.

Konate will be one of several players absent for Liverpool on Boxing Day, with Luis Diaz, Arthur and Diogo Jota all still sidelined for the long-term and James Milner coming off with a hamstring issue against Manchester City in Thursday’s EFL Cup fourth-round defeat.

Roberto Firmino was ruled out of that fixture with a calf problem, and Klopp also conceded that both men would be out for the next couple of games, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold are both expected to be fine after illness.

Alexander-Arnold is yet to take part in full training and will still need a once-over, though, while Virgil van Dijk has been training as normal since returning from the World Cup with the Netherlands.

“Millie didn’t get better since then – he will be out for a couple of games. Same for Bobby,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference.

Trent Alexander-Arnold in action for Liverpool on October 4, 2022© Reuters

“Bobby, it’s like this, he is already on the better side of it, even when it is only a few days ago, but it’s not a major thing, so we will look day by day with him.

“Ox is fine, Ox was ill, like Trent, some of the staff as well. That’s why we have to be careful in the moment, absolutely, like everybody, I think it’s going around.

“That makes planning really difficult for the next game because we were 100 per cent clear what we want to do against City and then you have to change in the last second pretty much, that’s not cool but it’s the situation and that might happen against Aston Villa as well so we need to be flexible, stay flexible.

“Apart from that, Virg trained now obviously completely normal so will be there. Trent hopefully will be better; he was not part of the full session but of parts, let’s see how that develops until tomorrow. That’s it.”

Liverpool will spend Christmas Day sat sixth in the Premier League table – 15 points adrift of leaders Arsenal and eight behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.

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