Liverpool head into the final two months of the 2018-19 season expecting a number of boosts on the fitness front with Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Dejan Lovren expected back in the action as the games grow increasingly important.
After a few months facing selection headaches based on who wasn’t available, it could mean Jürgen Klopp will now have to decide who has to miss out, but James Milner at least considers that the positives of a fully fit squad far outweigh any downsides.
“It’s important with the amount of games you’ve got and the intensity of the run-in that we have the squad,” Milner noted. “Everyone’s going to have a big impact on the end of the season, even if they’re not out on the field—just in training pushing people.
“I think the more difficult it is for the manager to pick a team, the better it is for the team to achieve what we want to achieve. To get players back and fit and ready to go, it only gives the manager more selection problems and it’s great for us as a squad.”
With seven games on the slate between now and the end of April, even those headaches may be more about how Klopp rotates his squad to keep things fresh more than about having to leave any of the first team players entirely out of the picture.
Then, if Liverpool do get past Porto in the Champions League quarters, things will look just as busy heading into May and the final weeks of the season. It’s going to be a busy, high intensity stretch with the Reds still in it for the top two prizes they can win.
Occasionally a deserving player may sit out a match, but over that stretch it’s likely all—from Lovren to Oxlade-Chamberlain to Gomez to Milner—will have a role to play in whether Liverpool’s 2018-19 season is one that goes down in the history books.
“Ox has obviously been out a long time and was playing fantastically well before he got injured, Joe the same,” Milner added. “He’s been brilliant when he’s played this season and formed a great partnership with Virgil.”