Jordan Henderson is in a race against time to be fit for Liverpool’s game against Manchester United, Joel Matip is doing well in his injury recovery and Philippe Coutinho could return as soon as Sunday.

During Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City, Jordan Henderson had to leave the pitch as a result of what many feared to be a recurrence of the heel injury which limited the skipper to just 26 appearances in the 2015/16 season.

Jurgen Klopp later confirmed that injury was not a recurrence of his debilitating heel issue but rather it was a new problem that they were yet to assess – this was revealed at the post-Manchester City press conference.

After missing Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with former club Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Henderson is at risk of missing the league cup semi-final against Southampton. He is certain to be rested for Sunday’s FA Cup game against Plymouth Argyle.

Reports indicate the Henderson is targeting a return against eternal rivals Manchester United. The stalemate against Sunderland revealed the importance of having Hendo in the holding midfield role to pull all the strings as Emre Can ran around like a headless chicken.

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Joel Matip is set to return to training in the next few days as he looks to ramp up his rehabilitation after a concerning injury. The Cameroonian centre-half has been plagued by a recurring ankle injury for several years and has only featured in one of Liverpool’s last eight games.

That being said, the former Schalke man is looking ahead as he eyes a return to football after a lengthy lay-off. Having missed the entire festive football schedule, Matip is aching to get back out there.

“[It’s] getting better and in a few days I hope I’ll be back in full training,” the centre-back told Liverpoolfc.com.

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“That’s the plan but you never know how it will go. We are really positive and hope that this chapter is closed. It was my left ankle, a ligament was damaged. At the beginning it needed rest but after this, I wanted to play too early.

“Three or four weeks before the West Ham game was the first time I really felt it and I still wanted to play a little bit too early.

“But now, I’m on a good way.”

Despite wanting to return to the side, Matip recognises that he might not walk straight into the starting lineup, especially with crunch games against Manchester United, Southampton and Chelsea looming ahead.

“I want to be fit and get on my way and be back but I don’t have a target to be in the squad,” he added.

“I want to be fitter and then the other things will come.”

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According to the Liverpool Echo, Philippe Coutinho could return against Plymouth Argyle or, if the FA Cup game is too early, then a return against Southampton in the league cup or United in the Premier League is very likely.

Coutinho had initially eyed a special return against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve but that, and the league game against Sunderland, were too early for a return. Speaking before the City game, Jurgen Klopp said, “He was in a very good way, then a reaction, but he’s in a good way again. I don’t think it will be a long time.

“Everybody was thinking about the City game, for example, this will be very unlikely. It was a dream of Phil’s. It’s not more likely than before, but I don’t want to say impossible.”

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