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Alexander-Arnold fitness boost for Liverpool as Keita also returns ahead of Wolves clash

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he is set to welcome two players back into his ranks from the treatment room

Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to hand Liverpool a timely fitness boost ahead of their home date with Wolves, although Jurgen Klopp is yet to decide whether the right-back is ready to start a game.

The England international has formed part of a lengthy injury list at Anfield over recent weeks.

Alexander-Arnold has been sidelined since picking up a knock in a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on November 8.

Liverpool have taken in four outings since then, across Premier League and Champions League competition, and remain in the hunt for domestic and continental honours.

Their cause is now about to be aided by the return of Alexander-Arnold, who will be looking to take his starting berth back from Neco Williams.

Klopp remains wary of asking too much from a player who has been nursing a hamstring complaint, but he will come back into contention against Wolves alongside midfielder Naby Keita.

Quizzed at his pre-match conference on whether any of his walking wounded are ready to return, Reds boss Klopp said: “I don’t know yet, we will see.

“Trent and Naby will do the first steps in team training today [Friday]; whatever we can do with that depends on how it looks.

“There are some niggles after the game against Ajax and we have to see how they respond.

“So far, they didn’t do a lot apart from treatment and stuff like this. We have to see how that develops [but] I don’t know in the moment.

“There is a chance Naby and Trent can be in the squad, I would say.

“If they can play, I don’t know. If they are in the squad then they can play, but if they can start or play 90 minutes, I don’t know. I think there’s a chance they are in the squad, yes.

“Apart from Naby and Trent, nobody is coming back, no.”

Alisson, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, James Milner and Thiago Alcantara remain among those still stuck on the sidelines, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been another long-term absentee.

He has been missing since suffering a knee injury in pre-season, but the 27-year-old midfielder is edging his way back towards full fitness.

Klopp added on the England international: “Ox looks really promising, he is doing a lot of stuff.

“He is warming up with the team now, some ball work, a lot of stuff, but we will develop that now over the next few days.

“Then we will see from which moment on it makes sense to throw him in. He is not too far away.”

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Frank Lampard provides positive Kai Havertz fitness update ahead of Rennes clash

Frank Lampard is hopeful that Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz will travel to France for their Champions League clash against Rennes on Tuesday.

Havertz has been out after he tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month prior to the home win against Rennes. 

He returned to individual training this week and has been building up his fitness following a short period on the sidelines. 

But Lampard is hoping to have the 21-year-old available for their trip to France and that he’s available to get some minutes.

“I hope he is available [for Rennes]. He’s been in for a few days now doing some individual work and he’s looked pretty good,” said Lampard. 

“Kai is a naturally fit boy so I hope to have him travelling with us to Rennes and maybe he’ll get some minutes. I’m not sure exactly how many because it was a two-week isolation but he looks in good shape.” 

On any further injury news ahead of Tuesday’s clash, Lampard added that he will closely monitor the rest of the squad before making any selection decisions.

“I’ll make a decision whether to make changes or not depending on how the recovery looks. We have people like Ben Chilwell, who has had a back problem, and players who played a lot of international minutes so we’ll have to see how they are.”

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Andy Robertson provides update on his fitness ahead of Liverpool vs Leicester

Liverpool v Leicester: Premier League match preview

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Andy Robertson says he is “fully fit and ready to go” for Liverpool’s top of the table clash with Leicester this weekend after shaking off his injury concern.

The Reds’ left-back was a doubt for Sunday’s meeting at Anfield after an intense fortnight of fixtures for Scotland, having already gone into the international break nursing an issue.

Liverpool are already down to the bare bones amid their ongoing injury crisis – particularly in defence – but Robertson insists he is fine to play a part.



Andrew Robertson holding a football ball: Robertson is fit to play against Leicester this weekend


© Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Robertson is fit to play against Leicester this weekend

“Yeah, I feel fit, feel ready to go,” Robertson told Liverpool’s official website on Friday. “I think I just got a tighter hamstring than usual against Man City, first and foremost.

“Then obviously the game on Thursday for Scotland was a huge one and 120 minutes and penalties had took its toll on me.

“Sunday, I wasn’t ready and just took a bit more time to recover from the game. But there wasn’t any real concerns about it.



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on November 8, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Visionhaus)


© Visionhaus
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on November 8, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Visionhaus)

“It was just the [risk] of doing anything worse to the hamstring was quite high on Sunday and the manager had made the call not to play me. Wednesday, I was good to go. Now I’m ready to go for Sunday, I feel fully fit, I feel ready.”

He added: “I know some people were quite concerned but I suppose with the amount of injuries we’ve had, people have become used to it. But I’m fully fit and ready to go.”

Robertson’s verdict will come as a welcome boost to manager Jurgen Klopp, who is already without three of his regular back four for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ side.



The Reds' left-back working on his fitness in the gym at Liverpool's new Kirkby HQ


© Liverpool FC via Getty Images
The Reds’ left-back working on his fitness in the gym at Liverpool’s new Kirkby HQ


Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both ruled out with long-term injuries, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is still a couple of weeks away from returning to fitness.

Klopp is also hopeful Fabinho will be fit to feature in some capacity, and the Brazilian is expected to be involved.

Liverpool were also hit with the double blow of losing Jordan Henderson to a thigh strain, with Mohamed Salah also sidelined due to him contracting coronavirus.

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Man City star travels to London with squad ahead of Tottenham clash despite fitness concerns

Manchester City have been handed a boost ahead of their crunch clash against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, with reports claiming Sergio Aguero has travelled to the capital with the rest of the squad, despite obvious concerns over his fitness.

The Argentine has only recently return to full first-team training, after an injury sustained in the draw at West Ham last month, however looks to have been thrusted straight back into the first-team squad, such is the importance of the upcoming Premier League clash against high-flying Spurs.

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(Photo via Man City)

According to journalist Lucas Scagliola, who appeared to have maintained an inside-track on the Argentine’s long-term injury over the summer, the 32-year-old was part of the travelling contingent that descended on the capital on Friday afternoon.

It is believed that the Argentina international only returned to first-team training over the international break, and after experience with rushing him back on previous occasions, it may come as a surprise to some that he could play some part in the weekend’s clash.

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(Photo via Man City)

Pep Guardiola will be looking to make major strides in the top-flight title race after a relatively disappointing opening few months to the campaign. However, could the Catalan boss have that ‘new-contract bounce’ following his two-year extension at the club this week?

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You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra

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‘Tomorrow is too soon’ – Neil Lennon gives fitness update on key Celtic player ahead of Hibs clash

Neil Lennon takes his Celtic team to Edinburgh tomorrow to face former club HIbs
Neil Lennon takes his Celtic team to Edinburgh tomorrow to face former club HIbs

Previewing the match against his former employers, Hoops boss Neil Lennon gave an update on the fitness of his players following the international break.

Lennon said: “We’ve no fresh injuries from the internationals which is great. We’re really pleased to have them back in good spirits.

“Jeremie Frimpong is fine; there’s no ligament damage, and he’s been back training for a few weeks now.

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“Kristoffer Ajer may not be fit for tomorrow but definitely this week, whether it be Sparta Prague or Ross County. He’s started training and feeling good but tomorrow’s too soon for him.”

Declaring the clash in the Capital an “important game”, Lennon added: “We’ve got a massive run of games now. It’s good to have a healthy squad, and introduce some players back.

“If we can pick up where we left off, I’ll be pleased.”

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Liverpool to assess Thiago & Fabinho fitness ahead of Leicester clash but Henderson out

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that his midfield duo are “close” to a return – but his captain will be missing this weekend

Liverpool will assess the fitness of midfield duo Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho ahead of their Premier League clash with Leicester.

Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that the pair were edging closer to a return to action, but that the Reds would be without captain Jordan Henderson for Sunday’s top-of-the-table fixture.

Thiago has not featured since the Merseyside derby with Everton on October 17, having suffered a knee injury in a challenge with Blues forward Richarlison, while Fabinho has been absent since picking up a knee injury in the win over Sheffield United a week later.

But both players were pictured at the newly-opened AXA Training Centre this week, and Klopp told his pre-match press conference that they would be looked at closely before a decision was made on their involvement against Leicester.

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Henderson, though, will join Trent Alexander-Arnold on the missing list having suffered a groin issue with England during the international break. 

Klopp told reporters: “Hendo will not be available, that’s clear. All the rest, we will see. 

“They are in a good way. They are all closer, but we will see if it’s close enough for the weekend.”

Klopp also discussed the injury suffered by Joe Gomez during training with England, which looks set to keep the 23-year-old out for a large part of the remainder of the campaign.

He said: “It was a tough one. The surgery was successful, and he is already recovering. He’s with his family, so he is in the best possible place, I would say.

“Rehab has started now. We help as much as we can. For the first few days after surgery you feel pretty alone, but if you have the family around, as is the case with Joe, then it’s all good, or as good as possible.”

Liverpool were, at least, boosted by the sight of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was back training outdoors as he steps up his recovery from the knee injury which has kept him out since August. 

The England international is unlikely to be considered for Sunday’s game, but could make his return to action next month, providing there are no complications.

“Ox is in a good way,” Klopp added. 

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Liverpool set for fitness boost ahead of Manchester City Premier League clash

Klopp: Playing Man City one of the ‘most difficult games in the world’

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Liverpool are set to welcome back a key influence for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City.

The Reds go to the Etihad Stadium looking to return to the top of the Premier League ahead of the forthcoming international break, and knowing that a win would see them strike a huge blow in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have lost on each of their last three trips to the Etihad in the league, although last season’s 4-0 defeat did come in the days after they had been celebrating winning the title for the first time in 30 years.

One of the key developments since that title win has of course been the serious knee injury sustained by star defender Virgil van Dijk, but Klopp seems set to welcome back Joel Matip for the visit to Pep Guardiola’s side.



a man wearing a uniform: Klopp saw his side beat Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek


© REUTERS
Klopp saw his side beat Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek

Liverpool’s last three matches have each seen a different player start alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of their defence, with Fabinho starting the Champions League clash against FC Midtjylland before going off injured.

The Brazilian was then replaced by Nat Phillips for last Saturday’s Premier League win over West Ham, and then with Phillips not registered for the Champions League it was teenager Rhys Williams who came in for the midweek trip to Atalanta.

Now though, it appears that Matip will return to the side to partner Gomez and make his first appearance since last month’s Merseyside derby.



Joel Matip wearing a uniform and holding a football ball: Matip has been back in training with the Reds


© Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Matip has been back in training with the Reds

He started that game with Gomez coming on for the injured Van Dijk, but incredibly this clash at the Etihad seems likely to be the first time that Matip and Gomez start together in the heart of the Liverpool defence.

Klopp faces a dilemma over who to select in attack, with the in-form Diogo Jota and mainstay Roberto Firmino both hoping to start alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

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Rodriguez gives Everton fitness boost ahead of Man United clash

(Reuters) – Everton midfielder James Rodriguez will return to the squad for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Manchester United having missed their defeat by Newcastle United last weekend through injury, manager Carlo Ancelotti said.



James Rodriguez playing a game of football: Premier League - Everton v Liverpool


© Reuters/LAURENCE GRIFFITHS
Premier League – Everton v Liverpool

Rodriguez, who joined Everton from Real Madrid in the close season for a reported 20 million pounds ($26.29 million), has made a bright start to life at Goodison Park, contributing three goals and three assists in six league games this season.

“He is going to play tomorrow and I hope he can do his best, Ancelotti told a news conference on Friday.

“I don’t know if he’s 100% (fit), but we need him. Physically he is OK, he has recovered from the little problem he had.

“If there was a doubt, he wouldn’t play. There is no risk for another injury.”

Ancelotti added that captain Seamus Coleman (hamstring) and centre back Mason Holgate (toe) were available, while Lucas Digne returns from his one-match suspension.

Fabian Delph is out with a minor knock, while Brazilian Richarlison remains sidelined as he serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Everton are looking to return to winning ways after successive defeats by Southampton and Newcastle but Ancelotti expects a tough test against Manchester United, who finished third last season.

United are 15th in the standings after a dismal start to the new campaign but have picked up six of their seven points away from home.

“It is a great opportunity to forget these two defeats and to stay at the top (end) of the table,” he said. “It is true they (United) have been up and down but some games they played really well. We have to expect a team with strong motivation.”

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(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Soccer-Matip and Keita hand Liverpool fitness boost ahead of Atalanta test

Nov 2 (Reuters) – Joel Matip and Naby Keita have returned to Liverpool first-team training but manager Juergen Klopp is yet to decide if both will be available for Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Italian side Atalanta.

Matip is poised to hand Liverpool a timely fitness boost as Klopp hopes to navigate his squad through a central defence injury crisis, with both Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk out of contention.

Van Dijk underwent a successful knee surgery last week after damaging his ligaments against Everton.

Keita is also set to be part of the travelling group to Bergamo for Liverpool’s third match in Champions League Group D, but fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara is yet to return to training.

“Naby and Joel trained yesterday with the team, full, Thiago didn’t. So, that’s the situation,” Klopp told a news conference.

“I have really no idea what I do with this information in the moment because yes, they trained, that’s good, it’s better than if they don’t train. But we have to see what we do with it.

“We have another day to make these decisions. A lot of players will be on the plane hopefully, and so decisions will be made late, late, late.”

Atalanta, renowned for their high-octane pressing style under coach Gian Piero Gasperini, defied expectations last season to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Klopp said Atalanta are Liverpool’s “biggest challenge in Europe so far” and compared the Italian outfit to Premier League’s Leeds United.

“With all Atalanta have done in the last few years, they are a settled team and they are very difficult to play against,” Klopp said.

“They are similar to Leeds in the way they set-up.

“They are a proper fighting unit. They have all our respect and I know how good they are.” (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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UK sees Covid ‘light ahead’ as Liverpool gets city-wide tests

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday promised “light ahead” for weary Britons ahead of a second coronavirus lockdown, pinning his hopes partly on the UK’s first city-wide testing plan in Liverpool.

The ambitious pilot scheme in the northwestern city, one of the areas worst-hit by the pandemic in Britain, will start on Friday, a day after all of England is to go into a revised version of the first lockdown instituted in March.

Britain, already grappling with the worst death toll in Europe, is tracking its neighbours in ramping up restrictions as a second wave of the pandemic takes grip.

But Johnson is under pressure from fellow Conservatives over the attendant economic harm.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, the prime minister said the four-week lockdown until December 2 was vital to prevent hospitals getting overwhelmed and “fatalities running in the thousands (daily) if nothing was done”.

There were grounds for hope, however, from new treatments to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms, mass and rapid testing, and the prospect of a vaccine, he said.

The kind of cheap new tests offering quick results intended for Liverpool “can be a massive and possibly decisive use to us in this country in defeating the virus”, Johnson added.

“So amid the uncertain gloom of November I see light ahead, and I’m absolutely certain that we will have better days before us.”

In launching the Liverpool pilot, the UK is following in the footsteps of Slovakia, which has begun testing its entire population.

But its effectiveness will depend on infected people self-isolating and their contacts being properly traced.

– Trust is short –

The track and trace facets of the Covid response have fallen short in Britain, Johnson has conceded, despite the government sinking a mammoth £12 billion ($16 billion) into its national testing programme so far.

Tom Wingfield, senior clinical lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said the pilot in his city was “an important step towards regaining control of Covid-19 transmission”.

But he warned: “Success will also not be possible unless there is trust in the testing system. That trust will only be achieved through engagement with our communities and clear information about the benefits of participation.”

Britain has registered almost 47,000 fatalities among people testing positive for the coronavirus since the respiratory disease emerged in China late last year.

The Office for National Statistics on Tuesday said 980 more deaths were registered in England and Wales in the week ending October 23 than the five-year average.

Of those, 978 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate.

Johnson pushed reluctant members of his cabinet into agreeing the lockdown after government scientists presented worst-case projections of fatalities reaching 4,000 a day by mid-December without action now.

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer accused the prime minister of a “catastrophic failure of leadership”, after Johnson rejected a recommendation to impose a shorter lockdown during the October school holidays.

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But restive Conservatives, warning of the spiralling economic costs of lockdown,

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