Atletico Madrid could be boosted by the return of a host of key players ahead of Liverpool’s trip back to the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday night.
The Reds return to the stage of their last European Cup win next week as they kick off the last 16 of the Champions League away to Atletico.
With the Premier League‘s winter break allowing the likes of James Milner and Sadio Mane to return to full fitness, Jurgen Klopp can call upon his strongest possible squad in Madrid.
It seemed as though Diego Simeone could not enjoy the same luxury, though the most recent update from Spain now suggests otherwise.
According to AS, six out of seven players considered doubts for the first leg could now return to action, with Kieran Trippier the only one definitely sidelined.
The England right-back underwent groin injury earlier in February, though he is expected back for the second leg at Anfield on March 11.
Diego Costa has rejoined training following back surgery, and is now targeting a comeback against Liverpool—a side he has faced six times in his career so far, scoring twice for Chelsea.
Both Alvaro Morata and Joao Felix could be involved after leg injuries, too, with the Spaniard also under consideration for Friday night’s Liga clash with Valencia.
Costa, Morata and Felix should all be seen as doubts still, with the likes of Thomas Lemar, Yannick Carrasco, Angel Correa and Vitolo poised to start in their stead.
Santiago Arias is expected to replace Sime Vrsaljko as stand-in for Trippier at right-back having recovered from a groin problem, while Hector Herrera should also be back in midfield.
Finally, AS describe the fitness of centre-back Jose Gimenez as an “eternal doubt,” with muscle injuries restricting him to just 15 appearances so far this season, but they claim he will be available for the next two games.
Simeone could still partner Mario Hermoso and Stefan Savic at the back, with Arias and Renan Lodi completing the defensive line in front of Jan Oblak.
Herrera and Thomas Partey are his preferred central duo in midfield, with Koke and Saul Niguez in more advanced roles, while any of Felix, Morata, Costa, Vitolo or Correa are likely to start in the two up front.
Possible Atletico XI vs. Liverpool: Oblak; Arias, Savic, Hermoso, Lodi; Koke, Thomas, Herrera, Saul; Costa, Morata