Jurgen Klopp Upbeat as Fabinho, Joel Matip Close in on Liverpool Returns

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2020

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (C) jumps in celebrating scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 10, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has given positive injury updates on midfielder Fabinho and centre-back Joel Matip ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash at home to Manchester United

Fabinho, 26, hasn't featured since he suffered an ankle injury in the first half of Liverpool's 1-1 home draw against Napoli on November 27, while Matip has been absent since October due to a knee problem.

Klopp told LiverpoolFC.com he could welcome both players back to full training this week, while defender Dejan Lovren is also in contention following a month-long spell on the sidelines:

"I wait really until they are on the pitch and somebody tells me they are allowed to do the full session.

"It looks like Joel will be in, it looks like Fabinho will be in maybe a day later, I'm not sure. Dejan, maybe he can be in as well.  That means a lot and helps massively of course. But we will see how it looks. The week is very important. 

"The game on Sunday against United, we all know what people expect from us from that game. It will be a big one as well, and we try to be ready for that."

Fabinho recently told Telefoot (h/t Liverpool's official website): "My ankle is getting better. I trained by myself this week. I was working with the ball again. I feel good and confident."

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The Brazil international returned to individual training last week, and the Mirror's David Maddock wrote on Tuesday that he could face United in what would be his first league game since November 23.

Fox Sports presenter Keith Costigan lauded the efforts of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who has retreated into a deeper-lying role of late to meet his manager's needs:

Klopp has rotated James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into midfield over recent weeks to help make up for Fabinho's absence, though each of those players have encountered fitness concerns themselves.

Adam Lallana has overcome his own injury woes to play his part, professing his desire to contribute however possible after Saturday's 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur, per the Liverpool Echo's Paul Gorst:

Joe Gomez has impressed as the centre-back partner of Virgil van Dijk during Matip's time outside the squad, with the 22-year-old playing the full games in each of Liverpool's last seven outings. That includes a 120-minute display in their 1-0 win over Flamengo in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup final.

Van Dijk showed his appreciation for Matip's new look ahead of his team-mate's possible first-team return:

Liverpool will move 30 points above United—currently fifth—if the Anfield hosts win in Week 23, though the Red Devils have managed draws in their last two meetings (both at Old Trafford).

Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice off the bench when Liverpool won 3-1 the last time these teams met at Anfield (Dec. 2018), and Klopp will hope he can rely on his recovered reserves to help prevail on Merseyside.

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