Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Trent Alexander-Arnold contracted coronavirus last year, and he believes the side-effects of the illness may be having an adverse impact on his current performances.
The right-back has come in for criticism of late - particularly in the wake of Liverpool's 1-0 loss to Southampton. The 22-year-old gave the ball away 38 times during the St Mary's defeat - a record amount from any player in the Premier League this season.
Klopp has previously hinted at the fact Alexander-Arnold may have suffered with COVID-19, however, has now confirmed the youngster contracted the illness last year and he believes that the time taken to recover from the disease - along with his disrupted pre-season - may be a factor in his current dip in form.
"If you make people used to that level he's shown, a game like [Southampton] was obvious case of not his best, he knows that," Klopp told reporters, via the Liverpool Echo).
"He has played some good games too. He started, was out with covid then had injury, no pre-season. All these things."
Alexander-Arnold's poor form has come at the most inopportune moment for Klopp as he looks to patch together his injury ravaged defence in a bid to defend their Premier League crown.
With both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sidelined with long-term injuries, Klopp has been forced to field a number of younger inexperienced players in a bid to plug the gaps left by their dependable, first-choice centre-back pairing.
Joel Matip has been called upon more than once this campaign, however, he too has endured a stop-start season due to injury, and Klopp confirmed recently that he is unsure whether the 29-year-old will return for Liverpool's crucial clash with Manchester United a week on Sunday - meaning the champions could be without a single fit, senior centre-back.