Liverpool got some good news on Monday when it was learned that midfielder Emre Can had returned to training two weeks ahead of schedule and would be in contention to face Villarreal on Thursday night in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final.
The news isn’t great elsewhere for Liverpool, though, as striker Divock Origi remains sidelined and isn’t expected back this season and Jordan Henderson isn’t expected to be in the conversation until the Europa League final should Liverpool overcome their 1-0 deficit and make it that far.
Add in the suspension of Mamadou Sakho following a failed drugs test and long-term injuries to Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, and even with the good news on the Emre Can front, Liverpool are missing a whole lot of players who would be expected to at the very least make the bench.
For Villarreal, on the other hand, it’s all good news on the injury front as they prepare for Thursday night in pole position and with a chance to make it to their first ever major European final. This includes the return of a pair of first team players who weren’t involved last week due to injury.
Defender Eric Bailly is back in the fold, and though he is unlikely to start, the centre half has made 26 total appearances for the club this season and would likely be first choice off the bench should Villarreal need defensive reinforcements or to make a tactical switch.
He will be joined by Leo Baptistao, on loan from Atletico Madrid. Baptistao has made 32 appearances for Villarreal this season and scored six goals, mostly from support positions. In a pinch, though, he can fill in at striker. The returning duo mean Villarreal head into the match with no injured players.
Villarreal are expected to arrive in Liverpool at lunchtime on Wednesday ahead of an evening practice at Anfield in preparation for Thursday night’s tie.