Liverpool have been handed a massive boost as Jon Flanagan is set to return to action with the U-21s against Fleetwood Town on 29 December. The defender was out of action for more than 19 months, with a knee injury that he picked while training.
The Guardian reported that the injury led to three surgeries, which had a positive impact on his development, having established himself as a first team option under Brendan Rodgers in the 2013/14 season. His performances for Liverpool earned him a shortlist for the England team travelling to the 2014 Fifa World Cup under Roy Hodgson, but the task will be on Jurgenn Klopp to bring the 22-year-old back to the level from where he left off.
He will be a major addition to the match day squad for the Reds manager, who currently has three more players out due to injury in defence. Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Joe Gomez are all unavailable at the back. Lovren is out for the short-term with a deep laceration on his knee, however, Skrtel will miss up to six weeks with a hamstring tear, while Gomez's season has ended after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Mamadou Sakho, who was out for a month is back in the first team alongside Kolo Toure, who is currently the fourth-choice in central defence at the club. The Reds have a few important games coming up in January, including a double header against Stoke City for the Capital One Cup, followed by hosting Arsenal at Anfield.
They are also pretty thin on the attacking front, with Daniel Sturridge yet to return to full training after being told off by Klopp to watch his health. Divock Origi has a hamstring problem while Danny Ings is out for the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate problem. The Reds take on Sunderland in their last game before the New Year, where a win will take them level on points with Manchester United.