With a return to real football only a few days away, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been given a fitness boost ahead of his side’s trip to Newcastle this weekend with news that a number of key players are ready to return to the starting line-up – including Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
The diminutive 21-year old is said to be pushing hard for a spot in the starting eleven this weekend after making an abnormally fast recovery from a shoulder injury he suffered against Swansea during the Reds 2-2 draw last month. While his subsequent surgery was considered a success, no one expected the midfielder to be anywhere near a return until closer to the end of the month, but the news will come as a welcome surprise to both the boss and the travelling Kop as Liverpool look to keep their Champions League ambitions on track.
If Coutinho possibly returning to the Number Ten role wasn’t exciting enough for you, the News Desk also has reports that fullbacks Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho have both returned to full-training and could also be in contention for recalls against the Magpies. Johnson took to Twitter earlier today to give an update on his fitness, saying that he trained with the squad and hoped to make enough progress before Saturday. The England man has been out since suffering an ankle injury against Manchester United at the beginning of last month. Cissokho, on the other hand, already made his return in the u21’s win against Spurs earlier in the month, picking up an assist in the process. The French fullback, who’s on loan from Valencia, picked up a knock only minutes into his first competitive start for the Reds during their win over Notts County in the League Cup.
Last, but certainly not least, Joe Allen is also set for a return after being sidelined with a hamstring injury also sustained during the Notts County fiasco. The Welsh midfielder has also returned to full training and may be looking at a spot in the side this weekend after Lucas jetted all over the world with the Brazil squad over the last two weeks. Whether or not he’ll be able to dislodge Jordan Henderson from that central midfield role is another question…