Proper football is less than 48 hours away, and while it may feel to fans like Saturday can’t get here soon enough, the return of the Premier League could come just too soon for a number of Liverpool’s internationals. Naby Keïta, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané are all in various degrees of recovery after suffering knocks in the past week, and though one or two of the quartet could be in line to start against Huddersfield, there is also a very real chance none of them do.
With Liverpool’s upcoming run of fixtures looking — on paper — far more surmountable than the one that preceded the international break, Jürgen Klopp could decide to put his newfound squad depth to use, in an effort to keep his best players fresh for the more daunting challenges ahead. And, in that endeavour, the German manager has been boosted by the return of a former starter, and Adam Lallana is reportedly impressing in training.
“Now it’s getting a bit difficult with judging how fit he is really,” the gaffer told the cub’s official site. “But training looks tremendous; he obviously enjoys playing football. It’s easy to enjoy watching [him].
“We will see what we do. Nobody, not even he, knows how long he can [play] and stuff like that. We still want to be careful – not too careful but, of course, careful [so] that we reach the point where we don’t have to think about it anymore.
“A few things happened in the past that are already over, that’s good,” Klopp continued. “But we cannot forget it completely or ignore it. But he is 100 per cent back and looks really good in training.”
The £25m man is now firmly in the realm of squad player when healthy, having managed only 500-odd minutes last season due to hamstring troubles, but if Lallana can recapture the form he showed in the first half of the 2016/17 season — when he scored or assisted 14 goals in 17 appearances from central midfield — the Reds still have an exceptionally talented player on their hands.
Whether the 30-year old is still capable of those sorts of performances remains to be seen, but as the club nurses its starters back to full health, there is no doubt Lallana has returned to the fold at just the right time, and he might just get the chance to prove he still has the goods at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.