Why Virgil van Dijk missed Liverpool's Premier League clash against Chelsea

Virgil van Dijk missed Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Chelsea through illness, while Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold all dropped to the bench.

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Jurgen Klopp made a number of changes to the side that lost 4-1 to Manchester City on Saturday, with Diogo Jota the only player in the front-three to retain his place.

Netherlands defender Van Dijk has been ever-present when fit this season, only missing seven games at the start of 2023 due to a hamstring injury.

But Van Dijk missed training in the build up to Liverpool’s trip to Stamford Bridge and was not deemed well enough to be part of the visitors’ matchday squad.

Van Dijk’s absence means Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate form a centre-back partnership, with Joe Gomez playing right-back and Konstantinos Tsimikas filling in at left-back.

Roberto Firmino, who is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, is handed a rare Premier League start.

Liverpool are eighth in the Premier League – eight points outside the Champions League places – ahead of their clash with Chelsea, who sacked Graham Potter two days ago.

Potter only arrived at Stamford Bridge in September but was relieved of his duties on Sunday evening after Chelsea dropped into the bottom-half of the Premier League.

Blues interim boss Bruno Saltor made two changes for the visit of Liverpool, with N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana coming in for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mykhailo Mudryk.

More to follow…

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