Liverpool duo Diogo Jota and Ozan Kabak are not expected to play any part in Liverpool’s final two games of the season after picking up separate injuries.
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Jota is facing a race to be fit in time for this summer’s European Championship after picking up a foot injury in the 4-2 victory over Manchester United in midweek. The Portugal international picked up the problem after Eric Bailly put in a strong challenge on the 24-year-old, and he missed Liverpool’s dramatic win over West Bromwich Albion last time out as a result.
Kabak was also absent from the victory at The Hawthorns and may have played his final game for the Reds following a loan spell with mixed success. Following a shaky start, the Turkish youngster had delivered some strong performances for the Reds, not least in the Champions League against RB Leipzig.
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Jurgen Klopp has been unable to call upon the Schalke loanee’s services for Liverpool’s last three outings as he continues to suffer from a muscle problem, and the Reds manager provided an update on the pair’s fitness after Sunday’s memorable encounter.
“Diogo (Jota), I don’t know actually. As I said, it is not too serious, but as always, you have to wait (to see) how it develops, how it heals. It is a little bone in the foot, and we have to see,” Klopp told a recent press conference (via Goal.com).
“I think he will now be in a boot for two weeks or so, and when he gets out of the boot, then the doctors will check how it developed, how far the progress is, so I don’t know that, but of course, it is not a top moment.
“Ozan, no. No for the long-term (injuries), Ozan isn’t in the long-term (injuries), but nobody is coming back, I think.”
Yet another injury setback
Liverpool’s season has been ravaged by injury issues. Season-ending injuries were sustained by Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip relatively early in the campaign, while key figures such as Jordan Henderson, Jota and Naby Keita have also had prolonged spells on the treatment table.
This latest double setback will have Klopp feeling gutted going into what is likely to be a season-defining final two games of the Premier League campaign.
The 2019 European champions are facing a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League, with just one point separating the Anfield outfit and fourth-placed Chelsea, and the absence of both Jota and Kabak will be a significant blow to their top four hopes.
Jota has bagged an impressive 13 goals in 29 appearances since signing for the Anfield giants, while Kabak has helped steady a shaky defence since arriving in January, with the Reds fielding the inexperienced centre-back duo of Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams in recent games.
Liverpool will have to qualify for the Champions League the hard way after a campaign where it’s felt as if everything has gone against them.