Liverpool frustrated by efforts to get Sadio Mane home from African Nations Cup
Liverpool's efforts to get Sadio Mane home from the African Nations Cup as quickly as possible were frustrated by red tape to further complicate his availability for Tuesday's crucial game at home to Chelsea.
The club sent a private jet to Gabon on Sunday following Senegal's exit from the competition but the issues with the flight delayed his arrival back home until the evening, therefore meaning he missed team training.
Liverpool will have another session on Tuesday and manager Jurgen Klopp will have to decide then whether to include the player, at best as a substitute, who was distraught after missing the critical penalty in a 5-4 shoot-out quarter-final defeat to Cameroon.
"I don't know exactly (when he will be available)," said Klopp.
"The club did an outstanding job to bring him back as soon as possible and he is now on his way.
"We thought it would be possible (on Sunday): we had a plane there but he was not allowed to go in the plane so we had to wait.
"He will be here (on Monday evening) but I spoke to him and it is all good so far.
"He will be in (on Tuesday) morning and we have to make a decision. We have to look in his eyes and see whatever is possible."
Klopp is confident their season can turn around as quickly as it faltered as he looks to put a miserable January behind him with a win over Chelsea.
The Premier League leaders are probably the worst opponents for Klopp's men as they look to avoid equalling the unwanted record for successive home defeats - four - for only the second time in the club's history and the first time since 1923.
EFL and FA Cup exits to Southampton and Wolves respectively have only darkened the mood at Anfield in a month in which the Reds have won just once in eight matches.
Klopp, however, has to remain positive.
"It's an interesting sign of life that it can change in one month," he said.
"In this moment we need, especially, as a team, to have faith, belief and all that stuff - that's the main thing in the job: to stay calm and make the right decisions.
"I really think we should try everything to make the best of the base we created until now.
"Stay positive. There is no reason for anything else. Absolutely not. It will help a lot against Chelsea."
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte wants his Premier League leaders to land a blow on Liverpool's title hopes.
Liverpool have inflicted one of Chelsea's three league losses this season, winning 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in September.
But Jurgen Klopp's men have one win in eight games this month and are 10 points behind the Blues.
Conte pointed to the fact 15 games remain after their trip to Anfield, saying "the result doesn't decide the season of Chelsea or Liverpool".
But he believes the Reds may find it too difficult to respond from defeat in the remaining 15 games.
"It could be a hard hit mentally for them," Conte said.
"It's important to win this type of game, increase you confidence, take three points from a rival.
"I hope to change the result if you compare the first game and the first part of the season."
Chelsea followed up the loss to Liverpool with a Premier League defeat at Arsenal, who visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Conte added: "It's a very important week, but also I know after two of these games we have 14 games to finish the championship.
"The results are important, but the championship doesn't finish after these two games."
Conte's switch to a 3-4-3 formation after the Arsenal loss was the catalyst for a 13-match winning run in the Premier League, ended at Tottenham on January 4.
"Honestly, I think we are a different team, not Liverpool. I think that we grew a lot," Conte added.
"We grew a lot and for this reason now we are top of the table."
Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who have both been linked with moves, may be late omissions from the Chelsea squad if they leave ahead of Tuesday night's transfer deadline.