James Pearce has revealed that Diogo Jota is not expected to be back in competitive action until February.
This follows on from the journalist’s prior update on the Portuguese international, presenting a comparatively worse picture to the one that suggested the striker could be back in action in ‘late January’.
“The break has also enabled midfielder Naby Keita (hamstring) and centre-back Joel Matip (calf) to regain full fitness,” the reporter wrote for The Athletic.
“Keita hasn’t played since the Community Shield win over City in late July and it’s a crunch period for the Guinea international with his contract running out in the summer.
“Diogo Jota is expected to travel to Dubai to continue with his rehab programme in the sunshine. A serious calf injury ruled him out of Portugal’s World Cup squad and he’s unlikely to be back playing until February.”
On a more positive note, Luis Diaz should be available for at least a handful of minutes in our upcoming friendlies in Dubai, which would put him in great shape to make a return to full competitive action when the Reds take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.
Though not a seismic setback in the grand scheme of things, it does rule out the former Wolves hitman from our hosting of Chelsea on 21 January and leaves fans with a nervous wait ahead of the following month that includes a key meeting with Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16.
Assuming that no further injuries occur between now and February, we’ll be in a very good position as far as our attacking options are concerned.
However, there’s no question that having a player like Jota, who can create something out of nothing, ready for selection in a game of such magnitude could be the difference-maker.