Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Theo Walcott will return to full training today, giving him an outside chance of being in the Gunners squad to face Liverpool this Sunday.
Walcott has been out injured since picking up a groin problem on international duty, the latest frustrating setback in a very difficult 2014 for the England forward.
Wenger only got the speed demon back in October following a career-threatening cruciate ligament injury, one that kept Walcott sidelined for 10 months. The 25-year-old returned for two brief cameos against Burnley and Swansea City last month, but after another month of rehab is among Wenger's considerations ahead of this weekend's trip to Anfield.
Walcott & Monreal in contention
The Gunners boss gave an update to Arsenal's official website on his injury-hit squad earlier today, revealing that with a bit of luck he could be taking both Walcott and Nacho Monreal to Merseyside as cover, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will have a fitness test on Saturday.
Wenger said: There’s a slight chance of Monreal being available and a very slight chance for Walcott. We hope that Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit. We’ll see that on Saturday.
"He [Walcott] is back in training today. But only today. I might take him, I don’t know yet until he’s back to full training. Let’s see."
Article continues below
Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge doubt
Oxlade-Chamberlain has become far important to Wenger's plans for the Liverpool clash than the Frenchman would like, particularly as he continues to nurse a groin strain that's stopped him training all week long.
Arsenal are already without Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky in that position, which means much hinges on the late check Oxlade-Chamberlain will have in 48 hours.
Debuchy to stay at centre back
Wenger also conceded that Laurent Koscielny has no chance of facing the Reds, which with options limited means it's between Mathieu Debuchy or Calum Chambers to fill in at centre-back.
Arsenal will be expected to exorcise the demons of their last Anfield visit regardless of who makes their starting XI, with the pressure to build some semblance of momentum after last week's 4-1 win over Newcastle United.