BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 23, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana in action against Burton Albion during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at the Pirelli Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It will be close” – Adam Lallana facing fitness battle ahead of Southampton clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has cast doubt over Adam Lallana‘s availability for Saturday’s trip to take on former club Southampton.

Lallana suffered a groin injury midway through the first half of England’s 2-2 friendly draw with Spain on Friday night, heading straight down the tunnel at Wembley.

This suggested Lallana would miss the trip to St. Mary’s Stadium, with the 28-year-old set to undergo a scan at Melwood on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of the Reds’ 12th outing of the Premier League campaign, Klopp confirmed that the decision on Lallana’s inclusion “will be close,” but is hoping it isn’t a serious issue.

“With Adam we don’t know exactly. I spoke to him already, but we’ve not done a scan until now,” he told reporters.

“It will be close. Really. We don’t know, but hopefully not too serious. We have to wait.”

Lallana had a similar problem prior to the October international break, limping off the field in Liverpool’s 2-1 win away to Swansea City, forcing him out of England duty.

Then, he was given close to two weeks’ recovery, returning as a substitute in the Reds’ 0-0 draw with Manchester United on October 17, suggesting he is unlikely to make the starting lineup against the Saints.

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However, Klopp continued to explain how, on the fitness front, “95 percent is good news,” with the majority of his squad now injury free and available for selection.

Lallana could join Danny Ings on the treatment table, after the striker was ruled out for the season with a knee injury, but both Sheyi Ojo and Joe Gomez recently returned to first-team training.

Ojo had missed three months with a back problem, while Gomez was out for a year with an ACL injury, with neither likely to feature against Southampton in Saturday’s 3pm kickoff (GMT).

Liverpool flew Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino back from international duty with Brazil on Wednesday, with the key duo arriving in Liverpool late in the evening having avoided injury.

Simon Mignolet, Ragnar Klavan, Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Marko Grujic, Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi also returned without having suffered problems with their respective nations.

It is likely that Wijnaldum will fill in for the injured Lallana against Southampton, with the Dutchman joining Henderson and Emre Can in a three-man midfield.

Can was among those to remain on Merseyside during the international break, along with the likes of Loris Karius, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Lucas Leiva, Alberto Moreno and Kevin Stewart.

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