Luis Diaz is set to return from injury for Liverpool’s visit to Leeds United.
The Colombia forward has been out of action since October due to a knee injury, but Jürgen Klopp plans to include him in his matchday squad at Elland Road on Monday night.
Thiago Alcantara is in contention to start after making his comeback following a hip issue as a substitute in last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, with Klopp also providing news on the fitness of Alisson Becker and Ibrahima Konate during Friday’s pre-match press conference.
Read every word the manager said about the condition of his squad below.
On whether Diaz is ‘100 per cent ready’ to return…
Yeah, he’s 100 per cent ready in training so that’s it now. He is now completely normal in training and now we have to reintegrate him. He will be in the squad, if nothing happens Luis will be in the squad and from there we go. That’s it.
Yeah, absolutely it is [like having a new signing]. Luis, he developed massively. In that time his English is getting better, so he is really settled. He was here every day – how it is with injured players and especially long-term injured players, they are even more at the training ground than all the others, so every day together with therapists and stuff like this. He really matured again, he is much more comfortable than he was in the beginning with everything in a new country, so that’s really good and it will help him as well. So, we are really happy to have him back.
He is like a breath of fresh air every day he is in training. He loves it out there, I said in the beginning when he came that he cannot train without a smile on his face and that’s something really special and that’s exactly how he acts now. But he was out for a long time, it was not his season so far. Last week we played against Arsenal, the game before against Arsenal, the away game, was the game he got injured so a long time ago. Then one session in Dubai, out again, and now being back – it’s really a long time. But it’s absolutely fine – he didn’t lose his skills, that’s good, but how I said we have to see how step by step we can bring him back into the team.
On the importance of Thiago’s availability…
Super-important of course, Thiago as well – he was not out that long but it was long as well. It’s insane how quick time goes. It is a different situation [to Diaz], obviously. Thiago is a candidate for starting and if we start Luis probably people will tell me, ‘30 minutes’ and stuff like this and then we cannot start him [because] we have to make the first change a bit early. So, that’s different but no, [it’s] top – he can demand rhythm, how we all know, and when he is fresh he is a top, top, top player and that’s why we are really happy to have him back and in training so far it looks all good.
On whether his squad is the strongest it has been for a while in terms of player fitness and availability…
We don’t like too much to talk about these kind of things because then in the next moment you get a call that somebody is out. But we had a couple of problems this week: Ibou couldn’t train for two days, should be back today hopefully, Ali wasn’t involved for two days, will train today individually. So, a little bit illness here, a little bit knocks there. We had a few problems and hopefully will not get more, but if they are all in then I think we have five or six players not in the [matchday] squad. It’s a lot and they are all training well. It would be easy for me if somebody is not showing up then it’s a very easy decision, but there are no easy decisions for who stays at home and stuff like this. So that’s tough for a few boys but really good for us. We never had that and that’s positive.