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Jordan Henderson stepping up injury recovery with Merseyside derby return in sight

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is hoping to be available for the Merseyside derby on Saturday, as he recovers from a troubling foot injury.

Henderson has missed the last four games after picking up the injury in training, also ruling him out of England duty during the current international break.

This saw the midfielder join the remainder of the Reds squad in Tenerife for their warm-weather training camp last week, though his was a watching brief, rather than any on-field activity.

However, Henderson is now set to return to the training field this week, as he targets a place in the squad to take on Everton on Saturday.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Henderson will “increase his workload” over the next five days to prove he is capable of coming back into the fold at Anfield.

This would be a boost to Jurgen Klopp, who will be looking for his side to return from the interval on form.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last three games in the Premier League, and head into the weekend in fourth, one point behind third-placed Man City and two behind second-placed Tottenham.

That their top-four rivals both have a game in hand, however, underlines the need to keep up the momentum.

And Henderson’s return, bolstering Klopp’s options, could prove central to this, with the 26-year-old in excellent form throughout the season so far.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 12, 2017: Liverpool's Emre Can celebrates scoring the second goal against Burnley during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whether Henderson would come straight back into the starting lineup, though, is questionable, given the emergence of Emre Can in the No. 6 role since he was sidelined.

Can has been one of Liverpool’s standout players in March, scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Burnley and producing a virtuoso performance in the 1-1 draw away to City.

And on current form, Can deserves to keep his place in the starting lineup and, unfortunately for Henderson, so too do midfield partners Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.

This could leave Henderson on the substitutes’ bench on Saturday, though this may be the most sensible option given the length of his layoff.

Having the former Sunderland youth as an alternate on the afternoon would be invaluable, giving the Reds a great chance of doing the double over their city rivals.

Can is currently wrangled in a contract dispute with the club, though both sides seem confident a compromise will be found before the summer.

And if he maintains his current form, it could be that he convinces Liverpool’s hierarchy of his improved worth, too.

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