Liverpool have been handed a boost as Thiago Alcantara, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri all returned to training on Wednesday.
The trio have been sidelined for some time – Spain international Thiago since October, and Milner and Shaqiri since November.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has been facing injury problems with several players in his squad, so it will have come as a boost that they were pictured in training at Kirkby on Wednesday.
The return of Milner will be welcome, as he can operate in a number of positions, but plenty of attention will be on Thiago.
The midfielder has featured in only two games since making the move from Bayern Munich this summer.
Speaking on Thiago’s knee injury, Klopp said: “On that day when he got injured in that bad challenge in the Everton game, there was another bad injury and after the scan there was good news and really bad news.
“[With Thiago] nothing was broken or ruptured but it was still a massive impact on the knee.
“The impact on the leg was that big that it’s still not okay. It is not massive, and he trains from time to time, not at the moment because we have to realise we have to go through further steps.”
His passing range and ability to control the pace of games have not been badly missed so far, as the Reds have still powered to the top of the Premier League, but Klopp will be keen to get Thiago back into the squad as soon as possible.
But given the midfielder’s problems with injuries during his career, it is unlikely the Reds will rush him back into action. It is expected to be the same with Milner and Shaqiri, as Klopp will want to ensure they are at 100 per cent fitness before being thrust into action.
The season has been extremely busy for Liverpool, who are challenging for domestic and European honours, but the festive period ramps things up a notch.
Liverpool face West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton in the space of nine days over the Christmas and New Year period, and it will be interesting to see if Klopp beds the trio back in at any stage.
With Thiago, Milner and Shaqiri back in the fold, only Kostas Tsimikas, Diogo Jota, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk remain in the Liverpool treatment room.