Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic has returned to first-team training, after a long spell on the sidelines with a troubling hamstring injury.
Grujic has not featured for the Reds since November’s 2-0 win at home to Leeds United in the League Cup, replacing goalscorer Divock Origi in the closing stages.
The 20-year-old has played just 208 minutes for the club since joining in a £5.1 million deal at the beginning of 2016, having rejoined Red Star Belgrade on loan for the rest of 2015/16.
This has largely been due to a hamstring injury picked up towards the end of last year, suffering a setback in his recovery in January, having earmarked a return to Melwood.
But as the Reds prepare to take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Monday night, Grujic is now back in training.
The midfielder joined his team-mates on the pitch this week, though it is unclear whether Jurgen Klopp will include him in his squad for the trip to the East Midlands.
Having hinted at his quality during an impressive pre-season, including scoring in August’s 4-0 victory over Barcelona at Wembley Stadium, Grujic was expected to make his mark on Merseyside this campaign.
But it is now more likely he will be a regular fixture next term, bolstering Klopp’s options in the middle of the park.
He has the physicality, dynamism and cutting edge required to shine in one of the German’s box-to-box roles, allowing him to compete with the likes of Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Grujic, Wijnaldum, Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge could all return to the fold for Liverpool’s clash with Leicester, having been on the treatment table during their 16-day break.
While Grujic was a more long-term absentee, Wijnaldum (calf), Lovren (knee) and Sturridge (illness) have recovered from less serious issues.
The Serbian’s return ensures that Adam Bogdan (ACL), Ovie Ejaria (ankle) and Danny Ings (knee) are Klopp’s only injury concerns, and the manager discussed the latter’s recovery this week.
“Danny is not fit. He’s in a good way but it will take time,” he explained.
“I don’t think there is any chance for this season. We are looking at pre-season.”
Ings could join Grujic as another option for Klopp next season, though it remains to be seen whether the striker has a long-term role following his lengthy layoff.
The former Burnley star has effectively missed the last two seasons with separate knee injuries, which may have an impact on his pace and movement in the final third.
But Klopp certainly has unwavering faith in the 24-year-old, as he does Grujic, who was his first permanent signing as Liverpool manager.