Sadio Mané could make his Liverpool comeback at West Ham on Saturday after making encouraging progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury, manager Jurgen Klopp revealed on Friday.
The Senegal winger has not played for Liverpool since October 1 after getting injured on international duty, but he returned to training with his teammates on Thursday.
“Sadio trained yesterday for the first time with the team and looked really, really good. We will see what we do with that,” Klopp told reporters at Liverpool’s Melwood training centre.
“Yesterday it looked like he is ready for at least 20-25 minutes, but we have to wait to see how his body reacts to the session because it was his first football session for a long time.
“He did really well. He obviously didn’t miss his abilities or skills during the injury break, so that’s good.”
The return of Mané would also be a welcome boost for his Senegal national team, who will take on Bafana Bafana in back-to-back Fifa World Cup qualifiers on November 10 and 14.
Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League table, 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
But with City hosting fifth-place Arsenal on Sunday and fourth-place Chelsea entertaining second-place Manchester United, they have an opportunity to make up ground on the teams above them.
Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out of the trip to London Stadium due to an adductor muscle problem that kept him out of Liverpool’s 3-0 wins over Huddersfield Town and Maribor.
But Georginio Wijnaldum, forced off early on against Maribor after turning his ankle, and Dejan Lovren, who sustained a thigh injury prior to the Huddersfield game, could be able to play.
“Phil is not available. With the rest, it will be close,” said Klopp. “Gini, I’m not sure, we have to see. It’s painful what he has, but maybe he can cope with it.
“Dejan, yes, maybe today is the clearing session, and we know that in weeks like this, you have to wait until the last second to make the squad or the line-up.”
It's fair to say Jürgen Klopp was pleased with Sadio Mane's return to training this week 👍 pic.twitter.com/3L14S9ErQ2
Klopp hopes Adam Lallana will be able to return after the international break, having been sidelined by a thigh problem since before the start of the season.
Klopp also said he would not pressurise midfielder Emre Can to sign a new contract, with the Germany international’s current deal set to expire at the season’s end.
“What could I do now? I could say, ‘Yes, it is a big problem’, but it isn’t,” said Klopp.
“I could say it is a big problem which we have to resolve now and put pressure on the player, put pressure on the club, but it makes no sense.
“We have to respect his contract is ending, and that is how it is.
“As long as Emre doesn’t give me one sign his mind is somewhere else, I don’t have to talk about this. It is a normal thing in football.”
AFP, Staff Writer