Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chuckled in his latest press conference as he revealed that Diogo Jota looks “really promising” after returning to training.
The Portuguese forward has not played since early December after picking up a knee injury against Midtjylland.
However, he returned to first-team training this week, providing a key boost to the Reds.
Liverpool‘s results have taken a sharp downturn since he encountered his injury, but Jota is one of only several key players whose absences have played a part.
Indeed, stand-in centre-back Fabinho and James Milner are only just closing in on a return. Captain Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, faces a lengthy spell out after undergoing groin surgery.
“Diogo trained now twice with the team. He looks very good, but it’s a long time out so we have to see what we can do with that,” Klopp told reporters at Friday’s media briefing.
“But in training he looks really promising. Fab [Fabinho] is not yet with the team, that can happen from tomorrow.
“That will be his first session with the team and the same for James [Milner].”
Henderson’s injury on top of Fabinho’s continued absence means that Nathaniel Phillips has temporarily taken the mantle as the club’s most senior centre-back option.
Ozan Kabak could play alongside him again on Sunday against Sheffield United, as against Everton last weekend.
Klopp said he “hopes” that England international Henderson will be able to play “a few games” before the end of the season.
The Liverpool manager could also make a switch between the sticks, with Alisson Becker in mourning following the tragic passing of his father.
Klopp refused to open up on his discussions with the goalkeeper, but said that the pair have not yet talked about his availability.
Klopp focusing on the game at hand
Liverpool’s trip to South Yorkshire could come as a breath of fresh air to the Reds, who have lost three in a row at Anfield.
But Klopp said that his players “don’t go there shaking” and feel no “pressure” on home turf.
Nevertheless, he warned of the test that Chris Wilder’s strugglers will still pose.
“Sheffield United is a strong side with a difficult, difficult start to the season. Meanwhile, the last 10 games the results were much different and you can see they’re much more confident,” he said.
“They will fight with all they have, we will fight with all we have.
“It’s not important that it’s dangerous or difficult, or the best moment. It’s the only game we have this weekend and that’s the only way we want to go into it.”