Liverpool’s senior players have returned from their personal getaways following the Premier League’s inaugural winter break.
It comes ahead of Saturday’s PL match with Norwich City as the Reds look to extend their gargantuan lead at the top of the table over current holders Manchester City to 25 points.
Whilst there was only one noticeable absentee from the session with Xherdan Shaqiri still recovering from a calf injury and deemed not ready to return to senior training.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the training photos…
Mane and Milner return
Sadio Mane and James Milner were both back in training with both players in contention to feature at Carrow Road at the weekend.
Mane, 27, is yet to feature since sustaining a hamstring injury during Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Wolves last month. Meanwhile, Milner, 33 has been absent since the Merseyside derby victory in the FA Cup.
Both players were pictured being put through their paces upon their return to Melwood. Milner was one of a small minority of senior players to remain on Merseyside after the midfielder chose to assist U23s manager Neil Critchley who oversaw Liverpool’s 1-0 victory against Shrewsbury Town last week.
The former England international trained with the young Reds and even was in the dressing room at half-time feeding instructions and boosting morale before watching from the bench as Liverpool progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Smiles all round
Undoubtedly morale will be high following Liverpool’s record-breaking 2019/20 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have won 24 of their 25 PL matches this season and have won their previous 16 consecutive league matches.
Liverpool have taken 100 points from a possible 102 since March and are unbeaten in their last 42 league matches.
Victory against Norwich in four days time would see the Reds move within six matches of the all-time record set by Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ in 2004.
Origi back in contention
Liverpool cult hero Divock Origi was another to return to first-team training following an injury during Liverpool’s 2-0 win against West Ham in January.
Origi, 24, was forced off midway through the second half of the 2-0 Premier League win at West Ham United on Wednesday night.
The Liverpool striker, who had laid on the turf shortly before being replaced by Fabinho, had an ice pack strapped to his left leg when sat watching the remainder of the game in the dugout.
Henderson, Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold battle for free-kick duty
After a week-long winter break, the Reds regrouped at Melwood to begin preparations for Saturday’s trip to Norwich City in the Premier League.
The LFCTV GO cameras were back at the training ground, too, to provide a compilation of the workout that was used for Liverpool’s ‘Inside Training‘.
One standout feature of the training montage included a good-natured free-kick competition between Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Virgil van Dijk.
Club captain Henderson scored the pick of the bunch after sending a right-footed pile-driver off the inside of the post before running off in celebration to embrace teammate Andy Robertson.
Kelleher to become second-choice next season?
And according to Estadio Deportivo, Real Betis want to secure a return for Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian. It might be hard for Liverpool to hold onto him in that case. For one thing, he’s 33 and unlikely to get the chance to return there again.
However, Liverpool may not need to break the bank for anyone. Caoimhin Kelleher is waiting in the wings and can surely take up the mantle of backup if Adrian does sign for Betis.
Kelleher is now 21 and has some interesting experience behind him. He’s played 10 times for the Irish Under 21 team but he’s also featured in senior games for Liverpool.
Three assured Carabao Cup performances earlier in the season came before the shot-stopper help inspire a dramatic victory against Shrewsbury last week.