Jurgen Klopp has admitted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to feature until the New Year after he suffered an ankle injury during Liverpool’s Club World Cup final win over Flamengo on Saturday.
The England international has lost a significant portion of his career to injury, but battled back from the knee ligament setback which ruled him out for close to a year to regain his place as a central component of Klopp’s midfield engine room.
Already without Fabinho until January, Klopp will also miss Oxlade-Chamberlain for the Boxing Day clash against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
‘With Oxlade, you have three ligaments on the ankle and one is damaged,’ confirmed the Liverpool manager.
‘I don’t know exactly [how long]. It can take a while. No chance for rest of the year that is clear. We have to see how it settles.
‘The only real thing I can say is the way to Qatar was difficult sleeping-wise. The way back was normal, we had a day off yesterday, the boys slept as much as they could. We needed days to get used to [Qatar] but now we are back and it is all good.’
Leicester failed to take advantage of Liverpool’s Premier League inactivity over the weekend, losing 3-1 at Manchester City.
It means the gap between the two sides at the top of the table remains 10 points ahead of the Boxing Day clash but Klopp is still expecting a stern test of his side’s title-winning aspirations.
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He added: ‘We went there to Qatar to achieve something special, we did that, it felt brilliant. Went home, had a proper sleep and now we prepare for Leicester.
‘Leicester have the European quality but don’t play it this season. Chillwell for three or four years a fantastic player. Evans, experienced centre-back, Schmeichel, Soyuncu, top. Highest quality with all their desire. Super footballers. Wingers, quick, creative and Vardy.
‘We will try [to stop Vardy]. He has been in the top three strikers in England since I have been here. Always difficult to defend. We just try to avoid the passes to him. That is what we will try. Brendan has done an excellent job. Top-class team. Exceptional quality.’
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