Double boost as Roberto Firmino & Harvey Elliott take next steps in Liverpool training

Liverpool were given a big boost in training on Thursday as Roberto Firmino rejoined the first-team squad, but Jurgen Klopp could be without three others vs. Aston Villa.

The Reds were back in training at Kirkby after a recovery day on Wednesday, with the focus turning to Anfield and the visit of Steven Gerrard‘s Villa.

Klopp’s side have now won six on the bounce, and head into the weekend second in the Premier League, a point behind leaders Man City and one ahead of Chelsea in third.

Beyond the narrative of Gerrard’s return as manager, Saturday’s game is another vital one for Liverpool as they look to keep up the pace in the title race.

It is a boost, then, that Firmino is back working with the squad in training, with the Brazilian taking part in a positive session in front of the cameras.

Involved, too, were Naby Keita and Joe Gomez, who made their return to action during the second half of Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over AC Milan in the Champions League.

There could have been fears of another setback for the pair, but head of recovery and performance Dr Andreas Schlumberger will be keeping a close eye on their fitness over the coming days and weeks.

However, there was no sign of Diogo Jota, Divock Origi or Nat Phillips in training, while Curtis Jones remains out with an eye injury.

Jota was not part of sessions pre-Milan, and along with Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Thiago did not make the trip to Italy, though the latter trio are all fit and with the squad.

This would suggest that Jota has picked up a problem that could rule him out against Villa, with Klopp likely to give further insight in his press conference at 12.30pm on Friday.

Alisson, John Achterberg, Training

Any injury to Jota could force Klopp’s hand when it comes to his selection, with Takumi Minamino a possible starter up front while Firmino could make the bench.

For Phillips and Origi, there could be minor issues from the win at the San Siro, particularly with the centre-back admitting he suffered fatigue towards the end of his first start of the season.

There are not other new injuries in the squad, it would seem, and in hugely positive news, Elliott has begun work with a ball outside.

The 18-year-old is expected to return to training with the squad next month, and is stepping up his recovery with individual sessions on the pitches at Kirkby.

Liverpool squad in training on Thursday

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Karius, Pitaluga, Davies

Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Konate, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, Williams

Midfielders: Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Morton, Dixon-Bonner

Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Minamino, Gordon

Missing: Jota, Origi, Jones, Phillips

Training individually: Elliott