The long-term absentees from Liverpool’s squad are beginning to return for Jürgen Klopp. Dejan Lovren has already played a full match against FC Porto on Tuesday. Joe Gomez was included on the bench in that game. And Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been working his way through the Academy friendlies as he strengthens his body after such a long time on the sidelines. It’s been a year out of action for Ox but there’s still a small chance we’ll see him on the pitch before this season's over.
That said, Klopp will not be rushing any players back from injury. The manager has pledged to stay a conservative course with Gomez, in particular, despite his appearance on the bench this week.
“Having Joe around is a really difficult situation because of what a wonderful footballer is, but he needs time,” said Klopp.
“He’s had injuries in the last couple of years and we need to make sure he is 100 per cent fit.
“As long as the other boys are fit we can give Joe time to train and get some match practice in other games. How we do that I’m not 100 per cent sure, but we will need Joe in the last part of the season.”
I expect Klopp to line the team up with Joël Matip and Virgil Van Dijk as the centre-back pairing as long as both are fit. Matip is riding his rhythm and has developed a strong partnership with the big Dutchman.
Liverpool have to win every match that’s left to win. The Blues have struggled on the road and Anfield will be rocking for this one and every other one while the title race is on. Chelsea will show up to Anfield with the confidence of three consecutive victories but, with no new injury issues, Klopp will be able to pick a strong side whose confidence eclipses the sun.