Fans were surprised on Sunday when Liverpool’s steadfast full-back Nathaniel Clyne wasn’t named among Jürgen Klopp’s starting line up because of pain in his ribs. The former Southampton man has proved incredibly resilient since he arrived at Anfield, quickly becoming a mainstay in the team’s back line even while others around him fell to various injuries.
Klopp updated his status with some positive news on Tuesday.
“It’s getting better. With Nathaniel, it was a muscle between the ribs,” the boss explained.
“It’s really painful, but now we know after a scan that there is nothing else and each day helps him to settle and get back on the pitch, if you want. So we give him for sure, we have to, two or three more days and then hopefully he can start running and all that stuff.
“He is, how everyone can imagine - he made nearly all the games since I’m in and before, probably, [he’s] one of the hardest we have so the first second when it’s possible, he’s out there. He has a big chance, I think, for Swansea.”
Clyne was not expected to participate in the FA Cup replay against Plymouth Argyle on Wednesday, regardless of his fitness, with Trent Alexander-Arnold assumed to be slotted into right-back once again. However, it would be a huge boost for the team if Clyne returns to fitness for Swansea. Alexander-Arnold put in a good performance against Manchester United, but expecting the 18-year-old to play three games in one week may be too much to ask.
The other player in doubt, Lucas Leiva, would have been expected to play on Wednesday. While the outlook for his recovery is bright, it’s still unlikely that he will be ready to play against Plymouth Argyle.
Regarding the Liverpool veteran, Klopp said, “It’s similar to Lucas. His knee was swollen and that’s never a good sign, but in this case it was on the better side of the bad news.
“Again, it’s only a bruise but then you have to wait until the swelling is away and wait for if something is coming back and all that stuff, and that’s what we did.
“He’s very positive, so maybe he can be on the pitch today, I’m not sure, we will see. If [he is], we will try to push it as hard as we can.”
All things considered, and especially taking into account last season’s crisis, Liverpool have been lucky with their injuries. They’re nearly halfway through the difficult winter period, and have been able to put out strong teams for every match. However, with Sadio Mané still away at the African Cup of Nations, and Joël Matip’s precarious eligibility situation, having Clyne and Lucas available to bolster the team’s back line will still be important going forward.