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Klopp: Sakho Return Imminent

At his pre-match press conference, Jürgen Klopp had several positives updates about Liverpool's injured players, including center back Mamadou Sakho.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Considering Liverpool's lack of depth in defense, it's no surprise that people are eager to learn about the recovery of center back Mamadou Sakho. The Frenchman proved his worth, if he hadn't already, once Klopp joined the club in October, and his loss several weeks ago was a blow. Thankfully, Dejan Lovren, his substitute on the left, has done well in the games he's played, so Sakho's absence hasn't been as keenly felt as it could have been. Still, his return is one that fans are looking forward to.

They're in luck, then, because the happy news from Klopp is that Sakho could be available for selection as early as 20 December.

"Mama has trained now. He had his first session with the team yesterday and if nothing happens, he has to go on and carry on with training. That’s what he needs now.

"There are no more issues with the knee and everything is okay, now he has to work to be a real option for us. Next week for sure, he will be available if nothing more happens."

The main thing to take from this -- aside from the fact that Klopp calls Sakho "Mama" -- is that the manager remains conservative about Sakho's chances, but he may be good to go in time for the Watford match. Knowing how injury-prone he is, though, Sakho's fitness should not be undermined by throwing him in too early, especially since, as previously mentioned, Lovren is doing well at the moment.

Jordon Ibe, who took ill and missed the mid-week match against Sion, should be ready to go on Sunday. Klopp said, "Jordon feels than better than he did three days ago. Yesterday we took him out onto the pitch but only for a bit of warming up and a little bit of running to help him feel a little bit better after this ‘cold’ – it was a little bit more than that. We’ll see how last night was for him when I see him, and then we’ll know more. I think he will be available for the squad."

On the less-than-positive side, Klopp also had to find new ways to talk about Daniel Sturridge's most recent battle with injury. The manager insists that Liverpool's cursed star striker still has a big role to play this season.

"We have to train with him and make sessions with him as soon as he’s prepared for them," Klopp stated.

"At this moment, he trains aerobically and it’s very important to give him a better base than he had before and that he can work on this.

"I said before Southampton with the last injury, that is the history and the situation with players who have been injured for a long time.

"We have to train, that’s all, and to give him more resistance for the intensity of football. That’s what we’ll do together with him."

Right now, Sturridge's injury is being categorized as a "short stint" on the sidelines, but it remains to be seen whether or not this hamstring problem will go Full Sturridge some time in the future. While Sturridge is always dangerous when he's on the pitch, even after long stretches on the sidelines, his absences seem to be getting longer and his availability shorter. Because of this, questions have been raised about the January transfer window, and if Liverpool will be looking to bring in another forward to add to Liverpool's goal threat.

It was always unlikely that Liverpool would be making any big changes in January, and Klopp confirmed this in response to those questions:

"We have Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino. Of course, we also have Ingsy but he’s not available at the moment. It’s a situation I can work with.

"If you take a new player, a striker, who can help you immediately, when the day comes and Daniel is back in the race and maybe better than before – more confident and fitter than before – then we will sit here and talk about all the problems we have with all of these players and how they didn’t play and so on. I am not like this, sorry!"

Under Klopp, the team has found ways to score without Sturridge, and if they can get one of their remaining strikers up and running, then it should be enough to see them through until the summer. Then, of course, there is the chance that Sturridge might have a good run of games in him after his most recent setback, but hoping for that feels more and more like playing Charlie Brown and endlessly trying to kick Lucy's football.

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