Jürgen Klopp believes Jordan Henderson has a chance of returning to action before the end of the season – and confirmed Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart are back in contention to deputise for the injured midfielder against Stoke City.
The captain sustained isolated damage to his lateral collateral ligament against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday night and is expected to be sidelined for between six to eight weeks.
However, Lucas and Stewart have provided a timely boost following news of Henderson’s setback as they both completed 45 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burnley at Melwood on Friday following their own absences.
And with the skipper ruled out and Emre Can set to serve the first part of a two-match suspension, the duo could be considered for action against Stoke City on Sunday.
“Lucas is back and could play yesterday for 45 minutes in a test game against Burnley,” Klopp told reporters on Saturday afternoon. “Kevin Stewart could also play 45 minutes in this game. That’s what they needed, so we’ll have to make a decision.
“These two players are back and that’s very important for us. We have to make a decision about line-up, about system and a lot of things, but in the end we will have players in this positon for sure [against Stoke].”
Klopp admits the news of Henderson’s injury is a blow for Liverpool; however, he was eager to outline why it does not mean the No.14’s season is over.
“It’s serious but it’s not that serious that there is no hope for us for maybe the last one or two games,” he stated. “It’s clear there is still hope for the European Championships.
“For us, Hendo is a very, very important player. He’s been getting better and better and better in the last few weeks because he’s been getting his rhythm. He is obviously an important player for England too.
“There is not a final judgement or whatever so you can say there is no chance [he will play again this season] – there is a chance.
“It is isolated, nothing else. It is not good news but this is part of something like good news. We will do everything for him and for us so that he is back in the race as soon as possible.
“I can’t say anymore, you always have to wait. Each day you have to see what you can do or what you have to wait, but until now it’s the best you can get when you get a knee injury.”