One of the most impressive parts of Liverpool’s dominance this season has been the number of injuries Jurgen Klopp has been saddled with amid heavy fixture congestion. That’s about to be somewhat alleviated.
Especially along the back line, Klopp faced an injury crisis after center-backs Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren went down with long-term injuries, while fill-in Fabinho was also left sidelined after deputizing at the back for a bit. All three should now be set to return soon, according to the German boss.
Speaking ahead of the club’s weekend match against Manchester United, Klopp was vague but suggested he expects all three to be in contention to play on Sunday as they return to training shortly. “I wait really until they are on the pitch and somebody tells me they are allowed to do the full session,” Klopp told the official Liverpool website. “It looks like Joel will be in, it looks like Fabinho will be in maybe a day later, I’m not sure. Dejan, maybe he can be in as well.”
Matip’s return is maybe the most welcome of the news, considering the 28-year-old had cemented a spot as Virgil Van Dijk‘s first-choice center-back partner through the back half of last season and first half of this campaign. He has been missing since late October with a knee injury, having made just seven Premier League appearances this season.
Lovren stood in for Matip once the latter went down injured, but that didn’t last long as the Croatian international suffered a hamstring injury in early December, having made just eight league appearances himself. He went down in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth, replaced just before halftime.
Midfielder Fabinho had occasionally moved to the back line as well to serve as cover, but he also suffered an injury and has been missing since late November. An ankle injury felled the Brazilian who was rounding into form in the Liverpool midfield and also performed well as a fill-in defender. He has missed eight league matches but could be on his way back soon.
The host of returners for Liverpool are returning at an opportune time. Liverpool has back-to-back tough Premier League games against Manchester United and Wolves less than a week apart, followed by an FA Cup match next weekend and a visit to West Ham three days later. The Champions League knockout stags also begin in about a month, so getting returners up to speed soon will be of the utmost importance.