Boost for Liverpool as Xherdan Shaqiri & Naby Keita set for return to action

Liverpool’s squad will be boosted by the returns of several players next week for the training camp in Evian, France, with two returning from injury and three from holiday.

While it was already known and scheduled that international trio Alisson Becker, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino would return on Monday, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed news on another duo.

Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri have not yet featured in pre-season, having been injured and in recovery until now.

But, following Sunday’s loss to Napoli in Scotland, the manager confirmed to the club website that both players returned to training for “one session” before the game—and so both will travel to the camp in France.

With numbers on the light side in attack, Shaqiri’s impending return to fitness will be a particular boost.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A succession of young players have been handed their chances in the absence of four senior attackers—Sadio Mane being the fourth, not due to return until after the Community Shield—but competitive action is fast approaching.

Klopp says Shaqiri and Keita are both likely to be involved in midweek against Lyon, the Reds’ final warm-up game for 2019/20.

“They are not here but they will come tomorrow because they train today. They will come tomorrow and should hopefully be a step further.

“Hopefully they can play a couple of minutes on Wednesday; five of six [aside from Sadio Mane] back, which is a good number.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 9, 2019: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For Keita there is rather more competition for a midfield spot, but his added drive and creativity will also be welcome as the Reds have struggled to create at times this summer.

All five returning players—pending fitness tests and continued training sessions—are likely to feature against Lyon, perhaps alongside a few squad players who have been on the fringes for the last two friendlies.

While Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and a handful of others have been playing 60 or 70 minutes, it has been only 20 or 30 for Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Co.

A week of training and one friendly isn’t much to go on to get the returning quintet up to top speed, but Liverpool will need to hurry their star players back to full fitness as quickly as possible, particularly in attack, as they start a seven-pronged assault on the new season.