Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Luis Diaz will not feature against Man City, with Liverpool building up his training gradually after being sidelined for more than five months.
Diaz took an important step forward throughout the international break and in the days preceding the trip to Man City, having returned to parts of team training.
His return to fitness is a welcome boost for the Reds as the season enters its final 12 games, with Liverpool’s first and only target to finish inside the top four.
But there’s been contradicting reports over whether Diaz will feature in the matchday squad at the Etihad and Klopp confirmed that he will not be ready for Saturday.
“Luis is back in small parts of training after a very long time out,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“Fantastic to have him back, he’s an energiser, it’s a boost to have him back. [But] he will not train today with us, he’s running [by himself].
“[He’s made the] first step back, did parts of team training,” the manager further explained.
“Next week we will increase that [intensity] and then he is ready, I think. We have to judge him every day how he deals with the intensity, it looks really promising.
“Final stages of him being back.”
As for Darwin Nunez, who withdrew from international duty due to a cut on his foot, he is in “contention” against City despite having missed a few days of training.
“Darwin couldn’t train for two/three days with a cut on his foot from Real Madrid, but yesterday back in training and is definitely in contention,” Klopp confirmed.
Thiago, meanwhile, could be involved in “parts” of team training next week.
It is not surprising to hear Diaz needs more time having missed 28 games since sustaining the first of his two knee injuries in October, the longest absence of any Red this season.
Disappointing, yes, considering the hopes that he would have returned by now but, thankfully, Klopp has Mo Salah, Nunez, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino to turn to over the next week.