Liverpool have received a huge boost which may have implications on Jurgen Klopp’s team selection both this weekend and in midweek as they attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid. Central midfielder and captain Jordan Henderson could be fit in time to face the Spanish giants, having sustained a thigh injury in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 encounter.
He was removed midway through the defeat in the Spanish capital and has not featured since. However, fans will have been given hope he could return in time for the return leg as there have been reports published that the former Sunderland player has stepped up his rehabilitation at their Melwood training ground, according to The Athletic, via the Daily Star.
Should Henderson return then one of Liverpool’s midfield trio will have to make way, and Naby Keita should be that man. The Guinea midfielder last appeared against West Ham United, and he should return to the squad at the weekend against A.F.C Bournemouth, but miss out on the crucial Champions League fixture. Keita’s highest-rated performance of the season was in the previous encounter with the Cherries, where he scored and assisted, finishing the match with a 9.16 rating, as per WhoScored.
Despite not featuring regularly this season in the Premier League, making nine appearances, he has experienced a miniature revival in his form over the last ten games, receiving the man of the match award three times, as per WhoScored.
Keita, valued at £37.8m (Transfermarkt), does not exert the same holding presence as Henderson does in the base of a midfield which is why the captain must slot back in if he is ready to return to the starting eleven. The 29-year-old’s role allows Georginio Wijnaldum to burst forwards and link with the attackers, while Keita’s presence alongside Fabinho leaves the midfield slightly unbalanced.
Meanwhile, Henderson has been enjoying one of the best seasons of his career to date and has looked imperious in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield scoring three and assisting five in the top-flight this term, as per WhoScored. His performances this season will force Klopp’s hand to throw him into the starting eleven if he passes fitness test for the encounter with Atletico Madrid.