Liverpool take on Everton on Monday night and Daniel Sturridge, Joel Matip and Emre Can all a have chance of featuring for the Reds and Philippe Coutinho’s rehabilitation is coming along as expected.
Against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, Liverpool breezed to a 3-0 win without Sturridge, Matip and Can. While all three were declared unfit to play in midweek, they all are hoping to play in Monday night’s Merseyside Derby.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Jurgen Klopp spoke about his players’ fitness levels. On Daniel Sturridge he said, “It’s still a maybe, we can’t say anything different.
“He’s closer to team training than he was last week and maybe we can involve him today, I’m not 100 per cent sure but it’s possible.
“If we can involve him today then in our situation, of course [we will use him]. Danny cannot be at 100 per cent but having Daniel Sturridge for 20 minutes would be fantastic.
“If he is available then he will be involved but we will have to see. Until now he did four-pitch sessions with the rehab coach and it would be nice if he could be part of my department from today.”
As far as Daniel Sturridge and injuries go, he is wholly unreliable. Although the Englishman has the ability to go from cripple to world class, his injury record means that Jurgen Klopp has begun relying on Roberto Firmino, a natural attacking midfielder, and Divock Origi as his centre-forwards.
Emre Can missed Liverpool’s last two games against West Ham and Boro after a clash of knees in training with Wijnaldum and just like Sturridge, Klopp is monitoring his compatriot to assess if he will be ready to play at Goodison Park.
On the German midfielder, Klopp said, “[He is on a] pretty good way. It was a strange injury, I had never heard of this ligament but when it’s injured, it’s injured.
“It settled quite well and quick and yesterday he felt no pain. He has had not that long a break so if he is ready to train today or tomorrow then we will involve him.”
Joel Matip is an interesting case as since pre-season in the summer, he has experienced pain in his ankle three times and it has been reported as being a recurring issue that plagued his time at Schalke.
Klopp commented on Matip’s ankle issue as well, “Joel is again a little bit different. We did not make a final decision about how we handle it because he had this problem for two or three weeks.
“It’s a little bit of an ankle problem, it’s not a real injury but it’s painful and we cannot push him through, that’s the situation.
“So now we have to see if we try it against Everton or if we give him a few days and try against Stoke or another few days and try against Manchester City.
“I don’t know in this moment. He did parts of the training before the Middlesbrough game but in the end, he said ‘I cannot sprint’ so it makes no sense [to use him]. We are in really intense conversations about this and we haven’t decided.”
It’s my belief that Klopp won’t risk Matip, especially in light of how the Cameroonian has become an integral part of the team. The fact that Matip has suffered the injury twice in three weeks means that there is more to it than a simple ankle roll.
The man that everyone is waiting to see again in a Liverpool shirt is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian suffered a serious ankle ligament injury last month in a clash with Sunderland’s Didier Ndong. The former Inter Milan midfielder is edging closer to a return and Klopp was ready to comment about his injury.
“It would be cool,” said Klopp of Coutinho’s possible availability for the City game. “I won’t stop him. In this moment he is improving a lot.
“He is off his crutches since the West Ham game – when we left the stadium he was walking in front without them.
“We will have to see. No idea at the moment. I never rush a player back. I’m the most patient person in Liverpool. I always wait for someone. I can’t rush it.”
Klopp’s patience is critical as has been proven with Sturridge’s improved fitness and it will prove vital if Liverpool are to enter the New Year unscathed.