Advantage Jurgen Klopp as injury news on Liverpool and Newcastle emerges
Things have fallen very nicely for Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool boss has just watched his team score nine goals in their last two matches despite missing a number of players.
A 5-0 away win in Porto has made the second leg a formality in six days time, whilst the 4-1 drubbing of West Ham at the weekend, means the scousers are now only two points behind second placed Newcastle.
A virus ruled Gini Wijnaldum, Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn out of that win over West Ham but all three are set to be available for Newcastle on Saturday.
Former Sunderland player Jordan Henderson will also be available, he was left out as a precaution against West Ham but has been back in training this week and will be competing for a place in the team.
Then Nathaniel Clyne is also now pushing for a comeback place, after starting 37 of their 38 Premier League matches last season, back surgery has led to him missing all of this season so far. However, his recovery process has now reached the point where first team football is imminent once again, the defender coming through 90 minutes for the Liverpool reserves without a problem.
Having been criticised for his decisions to rotate the squad this season, Jurgen Klopp is now reaping the benefits as it has now led him to having what looks to be a full squad available for Newcastle on Saturday and beyond.
The fact they loaned out Daniel Sturridge hasn’t done any harm in that respect either…
For Rafa Benitez it is a very different story now.
He has also rotated his squad as much as possible, though with far less resources/choices than Jurgen Klopp.
This has vastly improved Newcastle’s record on injuries this season (as was the case also in the Championship) but the luck may be turning at a crucial time.
Ahead of the Bournemouth match, Rafa revealed that Islam Slimani had had a setback in training, his thigh injury meaning he will definitely miss Liverpool and almost certainly Southampton the following weekend.
Then after scoring twice and looking to have his sharpness back, Dwight Gayle was forced to come off with a tight hamstring and is now also a doubt for Saturday. Hamstring problems having plagued the striker both last season and this one, as well as when he was at Crystal Palace.
Jesus Gamez is also unlikely to be considered having been out injured since November, though he is the least of Rafa’s problems.
However, bad news yesterday as well, with the club confirming that Jonjo Shelvey picked up a knee injury at Bournemouth and will be scanned and assessed this week, very very unlikely he will be involved at Liverpool.
To make matters worse, it then emerged last night that Shelvey had already been having injections for a groin problem, so even regardless of the new knee problem, he could possibly have needed to be rested.
If everybody was fit, then more than likely that Slimani, Gayle and Shelvey would have been Newcastle’s biggest three threats going forward, so with that trio all in danger of being out, Rafa Benitez will need others to step it up at Anfield.
Maybe best at this stage not to think too hard about the options Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal up front…
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