Liverpool delivered defensive boost with Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan training return

21 April 2017
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Liverpool defenders Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan returned to first-team training on Friday, ahead of Sunday’s clash at home to Crystal Palace.


Jurgen Klopp revealed that the duo were both doubts in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, but they have since recovered from muscle and knee injuries respectively.

This relieves pressure on Klopp as he looks to name a strong starting lineup against an improving Palace side.

Either Lucas or Klavan could be fielded alongside Dejan Lovren at centre-back, though the Brazilian could keep his place in midfield, joining Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Teenager Joe Gomez had been expected to partner Lovren at Anfield, but this seems much less likely at this stage.

Joel Matip is still sidelined, however, with the 25-year-old picking up a minor injury in last weekend’s 1-0 victory away to West Brom.

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He joins Adam Bogdan, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Danny Ings and Sadio Mane on the treatment table.

Henderson is yet to return to light training, and could miss the rest of the season, as with Bogdan, Ings and Mane, but Lallana is stepping up his recovery at Melwood.

The England midfielder is likely to rejoin the squad for their trip to Vicarage Road to take on Watford on May 1.

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - Monday, March 6, 2017: Liverpool's Rhian Brewster celebrates scoring the second goal against Reading during FA Premier League 2 Division 1 Under-23 match at Adams Park Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Two academy hopefuls joined the Reds first team on Thursday, with striker Rhian Brewster and midfielder Matty Virtue linking up with the more regular young faces.

Kamil Grabara, Connor Randall, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marko Grujic, Sheyi Ojo, Harry Wilson and Ben Woodburn were all present.

Ovie Ejaria has also rejoined first-team training having recovered from a long-term ankle injury, though it is unlikely the 19-year-old will come into contention for Sunday.

There look to be no problems for Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, with their involvement a boost after concerns over their fitness in recent weeks.

The Brazilians will be particularly key to Liverpool securing a top-four finish this season, with five games left to play.

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Given the fitness of his squad in the buildup to Sunday, Klopp could opt to make just one change to his starting lineup from the Hawthorns, with Matip likely to drop out.

The centre-back was pictured alongside Nathaniel Clyne at Melwood, however, suggesting a return to training was not far away.


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