Luis Diaz is nearing his return from a second long-term knee injury, and reports in Colombia claim he could be back in action as early as the weekend.
Diaz has been unavailable since suffering an initial LCL tear in the 3-2 loss to Arsenal in October, with a re-injury occurring while in Dubai two months later.
Back-to-back injuries, the latter of which required surgery, have kept the winger out for five months, but he has steadily increased his workload in training in recent weeks.
Individual sessions in the gym have been followed by dynamic work outside, including with the ball, and Jurgen Klopp has spoken with optimism regarding his recovery.
But while the manager indicated last month that Diaz’s return was likely to come after the March international break, a journalist from Colombia has claimed otherwise.
Diego Rueda has reported that the 26-year-old could, in fact, be involved at Bournemouth on Saturday, followed by the trip to Real Madrid next Wednesday.
It is a bold assertion, and one that should be taken with a pinch of salt at this stage, but there is every chance it could prove accurate.
Diaz resumed light training over three weeks ago, while a specialist flew in from Portugal to aid in his rehabilitation alongside Liverpool’s medical staff.
There is no need to risk the No. 23, of course, particularly given the form and fitness of Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.
But it stands to reason that, if possible, Liverpool would look to get Diaz up to speed as quickly as possible, with a 17-day gap between fixtures after the second leg at Real.
According to Football Insider‘s David Lynch, the club are not looking to schedule a behind-closed-doors friendly to replace the postponed meeting with Fulham.
The prospect of Diaz building up minutes off the bench against Bournemouth and Real may have even informed that decision, with the under-21s offering another avenue when they take on Blackburn on March 18.