11 Jan 2016

Confirmed: 'Magnificent' Liverpool star is 'available' for Arsenal and £20m signing is 'close' to LFC return

Following the club's 2-2 draw with Exeter City, Liverpool are in the midst of a luxurious 5-day recovery period, and with Arsenal coming to Anfield on Wednesday, the squad needs all the rest it can get to ensure the players are in optimum condition for the game. Jurgen Klopp made 11 chances for the Exeter draw, which means many of the club's senior players have had a well-earned rest, and there's also good news on the injury front, with several key players seemingly ready to return.

In his pre-Arsenal press conference today, Klopp provided the following injury updates:

On Toure and Sakho: "Kolo will be available, so we will have a senior centre-back. Mama wants to be available, and hopefully we can use him".

On Lovren: "Dejan feels good but...it’s only been six days [since his injury]. He's close and there’ll be a moment when we have to decide if it’s risk, or if it’s a risk we could try".

On Skrtel: "Martin is still a few weeks away [from being fit enough to return]".

Klopp also confirmed that Lucas is his preferred choice to deputise at centre-back (if needed):

“We will probably have Kolo and Mama and the next one is Lucas.”

Lucas can do a job at centre-back, but surely Emre Can is a better option? He has lots of experience playing as a centre-half; he also has the height and body strength to compete against tall, physical Premier League strikers.

Lucas vs. Olivier Giroud? A bit of a physical mismatch, no?

In my view, Toure - hailed last week by Jamie Carragher for his 'magnificent' performance against Stoke City - should definitely come back into the side for the Arsenal game, but Sakho should stay on the bench, and perhaps make a cameo later in the game (replacing Toure).

Even if he's needed, there's no point rushing Sakho back. Short term pain for long-term gain, as opposed to the usual Liverpool practice of short-term gain for long-term pain.

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Author: Jaimie K


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