LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the second goal, but it was disallowed after a VAR review, he scored a second goal that stood a few minutes later, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Diogo Jota due to return to full training ahead of Sheffield United trip

Diogo Jota is expected to make his long-awaited return to full training as Liverpool prepare to visit Sheffield United, two-and-a-half months after his last outing.

The Reds head to Bramall Lane for a Premier League clash on the final day of February, looking to respond to a miserable result in the Merseyside derby.

Taking on the league’s bottom-placed club would usually resemble a comfortable afternoon for the champions, but such has been the downturn in form of Jurgen Klopp‘s side it is certainly no formality.

With Jordan Henderson joining the absentee’s list with an adductor injury suffered against Everton, the manager has a host of problems to consider.

But he will be boosted in the coming days by the return of Jota, who has been sidelined since December’s 1-1 draw with Midtjylland in the Champions League.

Jota picked up a knee injury in that Group D dead-rubber, and has missed the last 17 games in all competitions as Liverpool’s fortunes have plummetted, winning just six of those and losing seven.

The Portuguese has won 10 of his 17 appearances for the Reds since joining Wolves in the summer, with nine goals scored during that time highlighting his importance.

And the Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe reports that Jota will be back in squad training from Wednesday, though this could come too soon for an outing against Sheffield United.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool could also see both Fabinho and James Milner return within the next week, with the hope being that the No. 3 is fit to start against the Blades.

Options are slim at centre-back and Fabinho has filled in excellently so far this season, and Klopp could be looking to partner him with Ozan Kabak rather than one of Nat Phillips or Ben Davies.

Jota’s return is similarly key, particularly in the context of Roberto Firmino‘s drop in form, with the Brazilian scoring just once in his last 14 games and showcasing some woeful finishing in that time.

The Reds’ £45 summer signing was putting pressure on Firmino prior to his injury last year, while his versatility allowed him to rotate with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, too.

Klopp is unlikely to rush Jota back, but the 24-year-old’s comeback could not come too soon.