NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's substitute Arthur Melo warms-up during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. Napoli won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arthur “stronger and closer” to Liverpool return after “sleepless nights” with injury

Liverpool loanee Arthur feels “stronger and closer” to making his long-awaited return from injury, after a year he feels was the “hardest of his life.”

It has now been four months since Arthur underwent surgery on a calf injury picked up in training, sustained during a dedicated programme to build up his fitness.

A crushing blow for a player who saw injury problems dog his time at parent club Juventus, the Brazilian had only clocked 13 minutes on the pitch for Liverpool before he was sidelined.

There were suggestions his loan could be cut short, but Arthur has stayed with the Reds, though his omission from the squad for the Champions League knockout stages is an indication of his standing in the squad.

Nevertheless, his presence in training this week has been a boost to Jurgen Klopp, who could call upon the 26-year-old for the final 18 games in the Premier League.

A comeback in the Merseyside derby is unlikely, with the manager seeing his situation as “similar to Bobby [Firmino]” in that the club’s medical staff would need to “[see] how he deals with the training intensity” first.

But taking to Instagram after a session at the AXA Training Centre on Thursday, Arthur declared himself “stronger and closer.”

Arthur may not be considered a long-term option at Liverpool, but the ongoing problems within Klopp’s midfield could hand him an opportunity in the months to come.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 22, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thiago is the latest to be sidelined, having suffered a hip flexor injury, while both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have been dropped of late due to poor form.

Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita have started the last four games and could be retained against Everton, but Harvey Elliott is the only alternative who has shown consistency so far this campaign.

James Milner, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all available, but Klopp has appeared reluctant to use the trio in midfield this year.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Arthur Melo before the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For Arthur, any comeback would be vindication after he reflected on a “complicated” 2022 in an Instagram post on New Year’s Day.

“[There were] many injuries, many criticisms that I had to listen to in silence, without even having the opportunity to expose the truth, what was really happening,” he wrote.

“Many sleepless nights due to physical pain, many days in the hospital.

“The anguish [of waiting] for the medical report in the hope that it wasn’t something that could prevent me from doing what I love most, playing football.”