Stoke City receive double injury boost ahead of Liverpool clash

Xherdan Shaqiri and Ryan Shawcross have returned to full training ahead of the Potters visit to Anfield on Sunday, while Glenn Whelan is a major doubt.

Stoke City receive double injury boost ahead of Liverpool clash
Ryan Shawcross has returned to training after suffering a back injury. (Image: Getty Images)

Stoke City have received a double injury boost ahead of their visit to Anfield on Sunday to take on Liverpool in the Premier League.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Ryan Shawcross have returned to full training this week after missing the last two games through injury. However, it is not all good news for the Potters as Glenn Whelan is a major doubt for Sunday's clash after suffering painful back spasms.

Double injury boost for the Potters

Ryan Shawcross' season has been disrupted by spells on the sidelines after back problems. The Stoke captain has suffered three separate back injuries inside the past year and has so far missed 18 of Stoke's 32 Premier League games. The latest injury setback is a back muscle injury caused by landing awkwardly in the Potters 2-1 defeat to Southampton last month.

The 28-year-old has returned to full training this week and, although Mark Hughes had initially thought about easing the defender back into action with an under-21s game, he could instead make his comeback at Anfield on Sunday.

Xherdan Shaqiri, meanwhile, has missed the last two games for the Potters after sustaining a tight muscle injury in the same game as Shawcross' injury at the Britannia Stadium. The winger has returned to training this week and should be available for selection at Anfield.

The 24-year-old will be hoping to repeat his performance on his last visit to Merseyside against Everton in December. The Swiss international scored two goals, including a superb lob in a 4-3 win over Liverpool's neighbours at Goodison Park.

Xherdan Shaqiri has scored three goals and assisted five in 23 Premier League appearances this season. | Photo: Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri has scored three goals and assisted five in 23 Premier League appearances this season. | Photo: Getty Images

Whelan a major doubt ahead of Liverpool clash

There is bad news, however, for Mark Hughes as midfielder Glenn Whelan is a major doubt for the Liverpool clash after suffering painful back spasms following Stoke's 2-2 draw with Swansea City at the weekend.

Whelan has been an influential and key figure for Mark Hughes' side this season, starting all 32 Premier League games for the Potters and standing in for Shawcross as captain. However, the midfielder's 100 per cent starting record is in doubt after Whelan's injury setback.

Stoke's bad luck with injuries continues after goalkeeper Jack Butland was ruled out for three months. The 23-year-old fractured his ankle in England's 3-2 victory over Germany in Berlin during the international break. Butland joins Jonathan Walters, Marc Wilson and Glenn Johnson (all knee) on the sidelines.