Jürgen Klopp has revealed that Nathaniel Clyne is closer to returning to full team training than he has been all season following his inclusion in Liverpool's squad for the Champions League knockout stages.
But the Reds boss insists his team will need to overcome Porto in their last-16 tie later this month for the defender to have any chance of featuring in the competition this term.
A back injury has kept Clyne sidelined since he appeared in the first fixture of pre-season - a 4-0 win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in July.
However, the full-back has been named in LFC's European squad for the second half of the campaign, and Klopp is confident he can return to make an impact.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure with Clyney, [he] is still not in team training but he is as close [as he has been] since the summer," the German told reporters.
"He's on a really good way, close to being back in team training but, how you can imagine, when you are that long out then it will probably take quite a while to be ready to play.
"I think we need to at least go one round further so that Clyney can be involved, there's no chance for him in the next round against Porto. So I hope he will make an impact."
Klopp went on to express delight over also being able to make Danny Ings eligible for Champions League action, with the fit-again striker having missed out on the initial group-stage squad.
"Ingsy, it's just nice. How it is with these European squads, it's an unbelievably difficult decision," he added.
"You have injured players, you have players who are not fit and in the end you cannot have exactly the number you can nominate or put on the list.
"At the end, it's always a hard decision, they were really hard in the summer.
"I didn't know exactly if Clyney would be fit earlier, so it could have been he was fit in November but not in the Champions League squad, which would have been harsh for him for sure, as it was for Danny.
"I'm happy that they are now in the squad and that we could react to a few things."