Cross your fingers and your toes, but so far the international break has been ok for Liverpool players. However, there are still several who have stayed behind at Melwood to rehabilitate, and in preparation for Liverpool’s big match against Spurs on Sunday, manager Jürgen Klopp has given us updates on some of the more pressing situations.
Joe Gomez has been out of commission since early December, after arguably being one of Liverpool’s best players of the season. Klopp was positive about the recovery of his talented defender.
“It is nice – Joe is not injured anymore and nearly fit. He will not be in the afternoon training session because he has to do something else – he has to work on his endurance, that’s how it is and how the boys always have to do it, like Ox had to do it when he was finally back in training. After a long time, I think Joe was out for 15 weeks, that is long, so he needs to now create the basis again for the rest of the season.”
The next important update we have is less positive. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked on the verge of coming back to the squad when he participated in a U23s match earlier this month. However, that game caused a setback that saw him come off the pitch after 40 minutes. Klopp confirmed that it was, in fact, an ongoing problem that means Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for a bit longer yet.
“It was a little setback, it was not more, but it was a setback. That’s how it is. You don’t want to be overly sensitive after a period like this because they train a lot – training is always like this, it’s like stress for the body. You feel something, but you don’t want to mention everything because it [can be] DOMS [delayed onset muscle soreness]. It was the case with him, it was a little bit more than DOMS, but not really [serious]. We are careful of course, he is working, he is doing a lot and I think will be in training in a week again. Then he will be fine.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out of England duty late with a back problem, and Klopp is unsure yet whether he will be fit to play against Spurs. This would be a huge blow to Liverpool, who have seen what life was like without their preferred right-back. Results weren’t great.
“Trent still feels his back. We are not 100 per cent sure, so we have to watch him. Trent wants to [be] 100 per cent, but we have to see. It is a strange one, it’s not an obvious injury that you can say something is broke or whatever, it’s just a bit annoying actually that he cannot feel really free. For him, it was really important that he could do the rehab and not being in normal training all the time. Hopefully [between] tomorrow and Thursday he can be back in full training and then it should be fine.”
Finally, Xherdan Shaqiri has remained on the injured list for a good long stretch in the middle of this season. He has a groin issue that required him to stay at Melwood and not travel with the Swiss team. His situation is another that Klopp is monitoring. He has hit full training yet, but the boss seems happy with his progress and confident that he’ll be ready by Sunday.
“[He is] good, much better. Shaq, since a couple of weeks [ago], has had some problems with the groin. He trained, not how he could train, but was still in the squad and all that stuff because we didn’t have a lot of options. Now he feels better day by day and should be fine for the weekend.”
This two weeks off could go a long way to resting some tired legs and getting some key players back on the pitch for Liverpool to see out the rest of the season.