While not a surprise given his performance behind closed doors, manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that Harvey Elliott is available for selection for Sunday’s match, and will find himself either in the squad or in the starting lineup. The youngster has recovered from an ankle injury sustained at Leeds early this season, and will look to regain his place in the Liverpool team.
Klopp had only positive words to say about Elliott’s recovery and the Liverpool staff who helped him get to where he is:
We have really to thank Andreas Schlumberger for that; he is our head of rehab here and was very in it, he was very patient, but Harvey was the perfect client, if you want. He did pretty much everything we told him without a question why or whatever.
He is in a good place and is in full team training now, but we have to see what is right for him – is it right to start [or] is it right to come on? But he will be in the squad definitely for the Cardiff game and from there we go.
Most of the things look completely natural, absolutely, really quick after a long, long period without proper team training. When you saw him the first time, you thought immediately, ‘Maybe we take him with us’ but it obviously made no sense.
He has now to go step by step to get back to his best, but he is close. Very close.
Thiago is back in training, though is currently suffering from a non-COVID chest infection. Though he is not fully recovered from his injury, he is in team training at this point.
Naby Keïta, missing out on the final stages of AFCON, has returned and is in contention in midfield — a midfield that just weeks ago seemed to struggle for numbers. Keïta has come back from the tournament injury-free, to Klopp’s delight:
“Naby is completely fine. Naby came back full of energy, had a few days off as well. Came back here after the tournament full of energy and confidence, so that looked good.”
Divock Origi, who has been absent through injury for a spell, has himself returned to team training for the first time. While the manager stresses that he looked “very good,” given it was his first training back he’s less likely to feature centrally.
Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah will both play in the AFCON final scheduled for Sunday following Liverpool’s FA Cup tie, and their return date is as yet unclear.