In a much-needed boost for Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino have returned to training, following a spate of injuries that has ravaged the squad.
The return of these two key players is a welcome relief for the Reds, who have been struggling this season, sitting in ninth place and 10 points behind Manchester United, who currently hold the final Champions League spot.
The Mirror reports that the Dutch centre-back was spotted in first-team training on Thursday, raising hopes that he could be available for selection soon, just as Liverpool’s defensive line was hit with another injury to Ibrahima Konate.
On the other hand, Firmino hasn’t played since the mid-season training camp in Dubai and has been on the treatment table along with Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.
Despite the return of these two players to training, the report states that they are still working away from the main group and are unlikely to play in this weekend’s game against Wolves.
However, their return to fitness could not come at a better time, with Liverpool set to face top-four rivals Newcastle United and the return leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, spoke about the progress of these two players last week, saying:
“Closer, yes. (Imminent?) No. But Diogo, Bobby, and Virgil, a couple of weeks before they can join training, and then we have to see how quickly it goes from there.”
There were expectations that Liverpool would delve into the transfer market in the final days of the window, especially with their injury list.
However, much to the frustration of Liverpool fans, Cody Gakpo was the club’s only January signing.
Jamie Carragher has however defended Klopp’s transfer strategy, saying:
“In terms of transfers, I can understand the frustrations of Liverpool fans when they see other clubs spending left, right and centre, and because Liverpool are not bringing someone in, it almost looks like they have given up on that fight for the top four. But what I would never want my club to be, which is what they were when I was a player, is a little bit scattergun, panicking at different times, whereas Liverpool over the last four or five years have been a model that other clubs around Europe have wanted to follow.”
Overall, the return of Van Dijk and Firmino to training is expected to bring much-needed stability and optimism to Liverpool’s season, as they take on the huge challenge to secure a Champions League spot.