The international break could’ve come at an ideal time for Jurgen Klopp, with three injured Liverpool players utilising the window to boost their fitness ahead of the Manchester City clash on 1 April.
There are currently 12 members of the Reds’ senior squad away on duty with their national teams (LFC official website), a number which would’ve been higher if Darwin Nunez hadn’t been forced out of Uruguay’s upcoming games due to a cut ankle.
While everyone associated with the Merseyside club may be sweating on that dozen returning to Kirkby unscathed in a few days’ time, the pause in the season could give some at Anfield the perfect chance to step up their recoveries.
As per the reliable Premier Injuries website, which is curated by injury analyst Ben Dinnery, the trio of Luis Diaz, Joe Gomez and Thiago could all potentially return from their current knocks in time to face Man City in 11 days’ time.
That fixture was also cited as a possible comeback date for the Colombian by James Pearce in his latest mailbag for The Athletic.
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International breaks can often be seen as an inconvenience for football fans who are more concerned with the clubs they support, but the current pause to the campaign seems brilliantly timed from a Liverpool perspective.
The prospective return of Diaz in particular would be one to savour, given that he hasn’t played in more than five months and had been flying up to that point, with five goal contributions in his first eight Premier League matches of the season (Transfermarkt).
Meanwhile, Thiago’s potential comeback would go some way to offsetting the hammer blow of Stefan Bajcetic being ruled out for the remainder of 2022/23, with the 31-year-old having last appeared in the 3-0 defeat at Wolves in early February because of hip problems in the meantime (Transfermarkt).
Gomez had been enjoying a steady sequence of games until his 73rd-minute withdrawal in the 5-2 home defeat by Real Madrid a month ago, which remains his most recent outing (Transfermarkt).
If either Virgil van Dijk or Ibrahima Konate, who are away on duty with their respective nations, were to incur a blow before the Man City game (something we obviously hope won’t happen), such a blow would at least be softened somewhat should the 25-year-old recover for the 1 April clash.
The best case scenario for Klopp and Liverpool is that the international break will give the aforementioned trio enough of a window to recover in time for the Etihad Stadium trip, and that the 12 players representing their countries will all return to Merseyside in the rudest of health.
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