Jurgen Klopp has handed Liverpool a major boost ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal by revealing that Emre Can is back in the squad.
The German’s season looked over when he picked up an ankle injury during the latter stages of Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund. Can was substituted before Dejan Lovren netted an injury-time winner to send them through to the semi-finals of the competition.
It seemed almost certain that Can would miss the rest of the campaign after it was announced he would be absent for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage.
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However, miraculously, just three weeks later, Can could be set to return to action at Anfield on Thursday.
“Emre Can is ready to return to the squad for sure,” Klopp confirmed in his pre-match press conference, per The Mirror.
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The news comes as a much-needing boost for the Reds. They lost 1-0 in Spain last week in the first-leg and know they need to win to stand any chance of progressing to the final in Basel.
Having Can back certainly improves those chances. The 22-year-old is one of Liverpool’s most important players and was desperately missed in the defeat at Estadio El Madrigal last week.
While Can is in contention to start on Thursday, Klopp also provided an update for captain Jordan Henderson.
Henderson limped out of the first-leg against Dortmund four weeks ago and he, almost definitely, won’t wear a red shirt again before the summer.
“Hendo is in a good way for England [at Euro 2016] but I'm not sure about for Liverpool," Klopp revealed.
While Can and Henderson have missed recent matches through injury, Daniel Sturridge has sat out of them through not being selected.
He was left on the bench for the entire first-leg against Villarreal, a decision that was widely criticised by Liverpool fans. So, there was always going to be a question regarding whether Sturridge will start the second-leg. Klopp responded by saying: "I was waiting for this question. He could be [in line to start] 100 per cent, but I’ve made no decision yet about the line-up.
“In all these thoughts, Daniel Sturridge is absolutely involved.”
But, whoever starts on Thursday is likely to be playing in another fantastic atmosphere.
We are likely to see a repeat of the incredible scenes when the Liverpool coach arrives at Anfield on Thursday and the stadium is bound to be bouncing.
However, if Liverpool start like they did against Dortmund and concede two goals inside nine minutes, they will need to score four goals, yet again, to stand any chance of progressing to the final.