Jurgen Klopp has been handed a massive injury boost, as Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all very close to a full recovery.
Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip have all been long-term absentees after sustaining injuries last season, while Alexander-Arnold was forced to withdraw from the England squad with a minor muscle tear.
Klopp, however, expects Matip and Alexander-Arnold to return to the pitch against Stuttgart on Tuesday. And he also rubbished reports that there had been a flare up with Gomez’s knee problem, saying that both he and Van Dijk are on the road to full fitness.
“No setbacks at all. Not for Joe, nothing – he’s trained completely normal,” he told the Liverpool website.
“That’s the thing, these boys are not injured anymore, they are just not at 100% yet. There are usually setbacks but so far there were no setbacks with Joe and Virgil and nobody [else] – they are all fine.
“No reaction with the knee, nothing, all fine. The world wide web had obviously too much time.”
He then expanded and gave rough timelines on when each player is expected to return – and the prognosis is good on all four. Matip is the closest to a return, while Alexander-Arnold is close behind and could make a cameo against Stuttgart.
“It’s different for each,” Klopp went on. “There is absolutely no doubt Joel can play on Tuesday. Trent looks for me like he can, but I will have to speak to the medical department and they will tell me if it is too early. I don’t think it is, I think he could play a few minutes on Tuesday.
“Then, Joe and Virgil are in a similar situation – not exactly the same, but similar. Both have done parts of our normal training and then they have to do extra parts – hard sprints and these kind of things.
“What they did in training so far worked really well and we will see when we can involve them in completely normal training. I don’t want to rush it. It makes no sense, we waited so long and now we can wait a few days longer.”