PREMIER League clubs are missing more than 100 stars just nine weeks into the season, with Liverpool and Manchester United worst hit.
Players such as Reds’ striker Mo Salah and Tottenham right-back, Matt Doherty, will miss the Premier League return following the international break after failing coronavirus tests – but clubs are also reeling from a heavy injury list.
Liverpool have 10 players on their absentee list, compared to United’s eight.
The Premier League had a new record of 16 players testing positive in its latest round of Covid-19 tests.
And Salah’s two failed tests while with Egypt summed up clubs’ fears, while their main men are on international duty.
He will sit out three matches for Jurgen Klopp’s injury-hit side, although their main worries are at the other end, with centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez out injured for several months.
Doherty also faces 10 days in quarantine as he returns from Republic of Ireland action. But while United have niggling worries over England frontmen Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, Alex Telles finally appears ready for his debut.
The Brazil left-back twice tested positive but was cleared of the coronavirus at the third attempt.
Chelsea have, so far, been hit less hard than their rivals, but their three casualties are all in arguably the biggest season of their careers to date.
Major summer buy Kai Havertz is still suffering the after-effects of Covid-19 as he tries to regain full sharpness in training.
Fellow attacker Christian Pulisic could be out a few more weeks with a hamstring strain, and England left-back Ben Chilwell has also had injury woes.
Cubs must now be hoping coronavirus vaccines can help ease concerns – if one or more of them are in use by early next year. – THE SUN