Jurgen Klopp says Naby Keita will be fit to start training with his Liverpool team-mates after the Champions League tie with Napoli.
The boss was talking during the pre-match press-conference ahead of the Newcastle tie tomorrow – and naturally was asked to update us on the injuries of his first-teamers.
Naby Keita and Alisson Becker injury update
Naby is close, he said, as reported by Melissa Reddy on Twitter. I think he could be in training when we come back from Napoli.
This potentially brings him into contention for the bench against Chelsea next weekend, although we reckon the MK Dons tie in the EFL Cup in 12 days time seems like a more realistic comeback date.
Liverpool need to win basically every game right now – because Manchester City will probably do the same – so Klopp will not throw in players simply to increase their match fitness.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another midfielder who is similarly crying out for minutes, but the boss is stubbornly sticking with the three he trusts most: Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
Bruce might have what it takes at Anfield, Manchester United and Spurs under pressure and a six-pointer at the Amex?
But heres a sliver of historical hope for the Toon! Steve Bruce has masterminded six wins from 24 over Liverpool during his managerial career, not a bad return for a journeyman usually working with modest resources. His 25% success rate might not sound super-promising, but look at it this way: a one-in-four shout is a big improvement on the bookies odds of 14-1. Its also exactly the same win ratio against the Reds achieved by a certain Rafa Benítez, and nobody would be writing off one of his sides completely. Some straw-clutching? Perhaps … but then no one thought Bruces Birmingham would win at Anfield in 2004 either, and look what happened there. SM
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Steve Bruce: Anfield miracle worker? Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sportsphoto/Allstar 3) Attack remains best form of defence for Norwich Manchester Citys visit to Carrow Road has the potential to make England 5-3 Kosovo feel like a study in catenaccio and the odds on another thriller can only have shortened in light of the Canaries injury woes. Christoph Zimmermann has joined Timm Klose on the sidelines while doubts over Grant Hanleys fitness, leave them worryingly thin at centre-back. Max Aarons, the outstanding right-back, also looks likely to miss out after injuring his ankle on England Under-21 duty and the only blessing might be that defending hardly seems Norwichs priority at the best of times. Matches such as Saturdays assume free-hit status for Daniel Farkes side and the expectation is that they will look to exploit any City weaknesses – occasionally suggested by Brighton a fortnight ago – by playing their usual front-footed game. The danger is that they risk the kind of hiding they took at Liverpool, and a team can only take so many if they are to retain their sparkle. Perhaps Farke might have looked to tighten things up given a clean bill of health; in the event Norwich probably have no choice but to pour forward again. NA
Jurgen Klopp STILL waiting to learn how long No 1 keeper Alisson will be out but Keita nears return
Read more 4) The first six-pointer of the season? Is it too early for a relegation six-pointer? Hell, its never too early for a relegation six-pointer. Both Brighton and Burnley flew out of the traps on the opening day with three-goal wins, but since then its been a bit of a struggle. Six matches between them have produced two points and three goals. The Clarets can point to a few caveats: they fought hard at Arsenal, nearly ground out a win at Wolves, and nobody gets much from Liverpool right now. The Seagulls by comparison couldnt be expected to get anything at Manchester City, its true, but a supine loss at home to a stuttering Southampton was more of a worry. This might not be a classic – three of the last four matches between these sides have ended 0-0, 0-0 and 1-0 – so remember to thank us for tempting fate when it ends 3-3. SM
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Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tom Davies is a regular for Englands under-21 side, but is struggling for game time at Everton. Photograph: Eddie Keogh for The FA/Shutterstock 5) Davies running out of chances at Everton? Everton splashed out more than £115m this summer, signing three midfielders – André Gomes, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Fabian Delph – and while new faces have undoubtedly helped reinvigorate his squad, it has created something of a roadblock for Tom Davies. Since 7 February the Liverpudlian, who joined the club as an 11-year-old, has played more minutes for the England Under-21s than he has Everton. On the face of it, the £30m sale of Idrissa Gueye to PSG seemed to play into Daviess hands while Gbamin, a £25m recruit from Mainz, is expected to be out until November with a thigh injury. First-team chances have remained hard to come by, with Morgan Schneiderlins renaissance pushing him further down the pecking order. Another home-grown midfielder, Kieran Dowell, and the full-back Jonjoe Kenny departed on loan in search of game time and perhaps Davies will soon have to follow suit. BF
Its way too early for any club to be in full-blown crisis mode. But you know how folk are, and a couple of slow-starting big clubs might find themselves under pressure should things not go their way this weekend. Unbeaten Leicester City are everyones tip to break up the Champions League cartel, and midfield maestro James Maddison has had a fortnight conserving his energy on Englands bench. The Foxes havent won at Old Trafford since Tony Cottee scored a first-half winner in 1998, and with Ole Gunnar Solskjærs side currently partying like its 1962, they might not have a better chance to end that barren run for a while. Should they frustrate the hosts, expect the wholly unreasonable noise around Manchester United – a team right at the start of a rebuild – to get a little louder. SM
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Well, up to a point. Watford being Watford, only six of the players Quique Sánchez Flores managed in his previous spell are still on the scene so it may take time before he is fully reacquainted with the place he describes as my home. It was no surprise Watfords owners blinked at the first sign of trouble for Javi Gracia and it would take some bravery to predict Floress return lasting longer than his previous 11-and-a-half-month tenure. He has a tough job and, given Manchester City await after Arsenal, things may deteriorate before he can steady the ship. Even if he is not familiar with most of his new charges yet, one of them knows Sundays opponents especially well. Danny Welbeck was eased back by Gracia, having missed most of last season. But 90 minutes in last months League Cup win over Coventry boded well and a fortnights training over the international break cannot have hurt. Giving Welbeck his first start might be the early masterstroke Flores needs; if one ex has come back to help Watford, another could boost their cause by downing his former employers. NA
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Read more 9) Wolves hope to profit from return to Saturday action Wolves are presented with what, these days, is a veritable rarity: a Saturday kick-off. This will be their first of the season and perhaps it is the occasion for a timely reset. Europa League football has brought a gruelling schedule that, while productive on the continental front, has contributed to a below-par start domestically. They remain winless but it is not all bad news: performance levels have been reasonable and, in Raúl Jiménez, they have a striker who cannot stop scoring. He will fancy his chances against a leaky Chelsea, exactly the kind of opponents Wolves have their eyes on leapfrogging before long. When the sides met last December, Jiménez was on target in a victory that kickstarted Wolves season while highlighting the flaws that would stall Chelseas campaign. They would overtake them with a win this time and add fuel to the idea that the London clubs claim to a top-six spot looks distinctly vulnerable. It looks a big game for both sides directions of travel and Wolves hope a lack of Thursday interruption will help them rediscover their old edge. NA
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Four years ago, on the pitch at Meadow Lane after Northampton Town won at Notts County, an exhausted and exasperated Chris Wilder made his frustration known. Internal politics and a protracted takeover threatened to endanger Wilders extraordinary work, with the team third in League Two despite staff having gone six weeks unpaid. Its tearing us all apart, he said. The same cannot be said for the situation at Sheffield United but the dispute between the clubs co-owners is hardly helpful, with a High Court verdict looming on Monday. Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah, a member of the Saudi royal family, have been at loggerheads for almost two years with the pair, who each have a 50% stake, pushing for outright control. On the pitch Southampton, who released Wilder as a teenager, are next up. We had a blockage in the system, so many players at the time, he didnt make it, Dave Merrington, Wilders former youth-team manager says. But Chris was a good lad; he listened, applied himself. He was very switched on and Im just delighted to see him go on and do so well. BF