Romelu Lukaku has said he is "ready to go again" after shedding muscle that he put on to play for Belgium at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Manchester United striker has netted twice in his last three appearances after enduring a 12-game scoring drought for the club. And he has revealed a change in physique has helped turn his form around, per the Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler:
"A little bit of muscle, yeah. I had to lose it. I felt great at the World Cup, but here in the Premier League I cannot play with the same amount of muscle as international football. When I came back, I knew straightaway 'nah, I cannot play in this style like this.'
"So you just stay out of the gym, drink a lot of water, and eat a lot of veg and fish, and it helps. Also, I had a hamstring injury, which is something that never happens to me. We did a lot of tests to see what the problem was. Just training differently, more prevention in the gym and more speed bursts in training—for me, that's the most essential. After the World Cup, I was a bit tired. You know, I had the same thing in 2014 after the World Cup. When I came back to Everton, I was really in a slump. So, now I think I am at a decent level and ready to go again."
Lukaku, 25, opened the 2018-19 season in decent form as he netted four goals in five appearances.
But so poor had his form been in front of goal since September that he found himself dropped to the bench recently by manager Jose Mourinho.
He was finally back on the scoresheet in United's 2-2 draw with Southampton, and he then broke a long-term scoring drought at home in Saturday's 4-1 win against Fulham at Old Trafford:
It is a good time for the former Everton man to re-find his scoring touch as the Christmas period is the busiest of the season.
United are now back up into sixth place and could make some ground on the top four if they can take maximum points from their five Premier League games between now and January 2:
They will be expected to beat Cardiff City (Dec. 22), Huddersfield Town (Dec. 26), Bournemouth (Dec. 30) and Newcastle United (Jan. 2).
But Sunday's visit to table-topping Liverpool will be a huge test.
If the Red Devils come away with a win, though, it will be a statement of intent and a sign that they are turning their poor form around.
An in-form Lukaku will give them a much better chance of winning at Anfield, where Liverpool have been formidable in recent times.