Amid concerns Jordan Henderson could be sidelined for the rest of the campaign, it has been claimed that Liverpool hope that the captain will be fit for the “final few weeks.”
Henderson has been sidelined since the end of February, having undergone surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in the Merseyside derby, missing the last eight games so far.
It is a big blow for the Reds, with the 30-year-old undoubtedly a key player who had filled in at centre-back, away from his natural midfield role, in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and briefly Fabinho.
No official timeframe has been set for Henderson’s return, but England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested his injury could be a season-ending one.
“We know it’s going to be close to the end of the season and we will just have to see how it goes,” Southgate said, following Jurgen Klopp‘s claim that he had “no idea about the Euros” when it came to the fitness of Henderson and Van Dijk.
The initial prognosis mooted by the Merseyside press was that Henderson would miss six to eight weeks, but reports elsewhere extended this to eight to 10 weeks, with the midfielder having now already missed seven weeks.
Yet to be pictured working in the gym or running on the pitches at Kirkby, there are understandable doubts that the No. 14 will feature between now and the end of the season.
But in his post-Aston Villa Q&A for The Athletic, James Pearce maintained that “the hope was that Henderson would be back for the final few weeks of the season.”
Ten weeks from his injury would see Henderson back in contention from the start of May, which would in theory give him a chance of playing against Man United, Southampton, West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace that month.
It is unlikely he would play a big part, particularly against United on May 1 and Southampton on May 8, but perhaps there is an increased likelihood later into the month.
The final will be held in Istanbul on May 29, which could give Henderson and Van Dijk the chance of a place on the bench, if their return-to-play schedules are correct.