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Nathaniel Clyne Is Close To Match Fitness But Needs Rhythm

Jürgen Klopp won’t rush the Liverpool right back onto the pitch.

Tranmere Rovers v Liverpool - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Running down the injury list during today’s pre-Manchester United press conference, Jürgen Klopp was urged to expound on the availability of Liverpool’s long-suffering Nathaniel Clyne. The right back has been out of action all season and since he’s started to pop up in training photos many a curious observer has wondering when Clyne might be reintroduced to the squad. And the fact that the England defender has not made his way onto any of Klopp’s team sheets has caused some to worry that Clyne’s woes are not exactly over.

“Clyney is still on a very good way,” explained Klopp. “No further injury since he’s back.”

But the manager clarified his stance on the right back position when pressed to comment on the potential for Clyne to be included in the squad to face United.

“We can be 100% honest, we don’t have any issues in the right back situation,” Klopp said. “Only because Clyney is back, but has absolutely no rhythm, why should I make changes?

“Trent is doing really well. And for Clyney it’s very important that he still can build up. And if there’s a moment when we really need him that he’s ready for that.

“Nobody wants a player to have a long-term injury but if it happens then sometimes things change a little bit, for the moment.

“Clyney didn’t lose a percentage of his quality but he has no rhythm obviously, no matches or one match in the last nine months or so. That cannot be the same like it is with the other two boys, Joe and Trent. But he’s close to match fitness.”

There’s the possibility that we won’t see Nathaniel Clyne pull on the red shirt this season at all. And that makes sense when you take into account how well Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have been playing for Liverpool. But the player is still in the manager’s plans and, who knows, if Liverpool can lock up second place in the Premier League with a few games to go, maybe Clyne gets finish out the season as a sort of injury-free victory lap.

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