Liverpool trio Henderson, Matip and Coutinho all "much closer" to full fitness ahead of United, says Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool trio Henderson, Matip and Coutinho all "much closer" to full fitness ahead of United, says Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that midfielder Jordan Henderson and defender Joel Matip are both back in training as he issued a positive fitness update on the pair and on Philippe Coutinho.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp confirmed the returns of Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip to training and said that Philippe Coutinho is also progressing well prior to a crunch clash with Manchester United this Sunday.

Captain Henderson has been out since going off mid-way through the second-half of the New Year's Eve win over Manchester City with a heel injury, while centre-back Matip hasn't featured for a month.

The towering Cameroonian's last run-out was the home draw with West Ham United at Anfield, having struggled with an ankle problem since.

But the pair were both back out on the training pitches at Melwood with their teammates on Thursday ahead of this weekend's trip to Old Trafford as the Reds take on their bitter rivals.

Meanwhile, Coutinho made his return from a seven-week absence in playing the last half-an-hour of the EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Southampton

The Brazilian is being tipped to return to the starting line-up for the first time since November 26 having recovered from ankle ligament damage, although the playmaker is not yet at 100 per-cent sharpness.

It would be good if they are back, says Klopp

Klopp, previewing Liverpool's showdown with United in his pre-match press conference, said that all three were back in training earlier this week but that they must "wait on how they reacted" and then "make decisions."

"The last game was only two days ago and so we have to wait for the reaction of those players too, and then we make a line-up," continued the German.

He admitted that Henderson, Matip and Coutinho are all "much closer than they were before any other game in the last few weeks" as he declared their ongoing recoveries as "good."

Quizzed on the importance of Henderson and Coutinho, and how their quality has been missed while they have spent time on the sidelines, Klopp acknowledged: "When Phil isn't playing, of course you miss his creativity and finishing and all that stuff."

The Reds boss insisted the No.10 is "a very important player" for the team and said Henderson is "the same" albeit "in a different role."

Klopp declared that, in their absences, he doesn't "think too much about them" because he is focused on finding "other solutions" - adding: "That's what we did pretty good in the past few weeks, especially when we had to play without Phil."

He accepted that his team "needed a little time to adapt to the new situation", stating that Coutinho "has a specific kind of play" in his role "as an offensive midfielder."

Klopp explained that the 24-year-old's style is "defending most of the time on the left side", before saying that's "how it is" and that it will be "good" for Liverpool "that they are back, if they are back."

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