Jordan Henderson is back in full training after missing Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Genk through illness, but he faces a fight to start vs. Man City.
The captain was kept out of the side in midweek, but speaking to reporters at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp revealed he was hopeful he could come back into contention for Sunday.
With City aiming to dent Liverpool’s title hopes and reinforce their own, the manager will be eager to have as many of his key players available.
This includes Henderson, who has started eight of the Reds 11 games in the Premier League so far this season, and it is therefore positive news that he returned to training on Thursday.
The 29-year-old worked alongside a near-full squad, though Virgil van Dijk was absent as he was back in the Netherlands to receive royal recognition from King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri were the only other absentees beyond the long-term injured Nathaniel Clyne and Paul Glatzel.
It follows up on Klopp’s post-Genk reflection that “the most important thing [is] we won and nobody [got] injured,” having rotated his selection for the Champions League tie.
Academy regulars Pedro Chirivella and Herbie Kane joined Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster among the young contingent.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also involved, after taking a knock to his ankle in his goalscoring performance against Genk, telling BT Sport after the game that it was “just a kick” and he would be “all good.”
His involvement and continued form could force Klopp into a big decision ahead of the visit of City, which could come at the detriment of Henderson.
Oxlade-Chamberlain scored one and assisted one in the 4-3 victory over City in the league in 2017/18, while he found the back of the net again in the 3-0 win in Europe.
The No. 15’s front-footed approach has aided Liverpool against their title rivals in the past, and this was clearly lacking as he sat out of both meetings in the league last term—a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 loss.
Showing faith in Oxlade-Chamberlain—along with Fabinho, who failed to start either game in 2018/19—could be key to Liverpool getting a positive result at Anfield.
Klopp has another call to make with regards Van Dijk’s centre-back partner, with Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez both in training on Thursday, but the Croatian is more likely to return to the fold.