BACKGROUND: The incidence of elevated liver chemistries and the presence of the pre-existing chronic liver disease (CLD) have been variably reported in COVID-19. AIMS: To assess the prevalence of CLD, the incidence of elevated liver chemistries and the outcomes of patients with and without underlying CLD/elevated liver chemistries in COVID-19. METHODS: A comprehensive search of electronic databases from 1 December 2019 to 24 April 2020 was done. We included studies reporting underlying CLD or elevated liver chemistries and patient outcomes in COVID-19. RESULTS: 107 articles (n = 20 874 patients) were included for the systematic review. The pooled prevalence of underlying CLD was 3.6% (95% CI, 2.5-5.1) among the 15 407 COVID-19 patients. The pooled incidence of elevated liver chemistries in COVID-19 was 23.1% (19.3-27.3) at initial presentation. Additionally, 24.4% (13.5-40) developed elevated liver chemistries during the illness. The pooled incidence of drug-induced liver injury was 25.4% (14.2-41.4). The pooled prevalence of CLD among 1587 severely infected patients was 3.9% (3%-5.2%). The odds of developing severe COVID-19 in CLD patients was 0.81 (0.31-2.09; P = 0.67) compared to non-CLD patients. COVID-19 patients with elevated liver chemistries had increased risk of mortality (OR-3.46 [2.42-4.95, P < 0.001]) and severe disease (OR-2.87 [95% CI, 2.29-3.6, P < 0.001]) compared to patients without elevated liver chemistries. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated liver chemistries are common at presentation and during COVID-19. The severity of elevated liver chemistries determines the outcome of COVID-19. The presence of CLD does not alter the outcome of COVID-19. Further studies are needed to analyse the outcomes of compensated and decompensated liver disease.