James Milner
Milner and Skrtel are in contention to return to the first team after missing Liverpool’s first-leg 2-0 win over UnitedGetty

Liverpool have been handed a major fitness boost ahead of their clash against Manchester United in the second leg of the Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday (17 March) after James Milner returned to training after recovering from a virus that forced him to miss the first-leg clash at Anfield last Thursday (10 March). The Reds travel to Old Trafford with a 2-0 advantage and will be keen to make it count and book their place in the quarter-finals of the second tier European cup competition.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the midfielder returned to training this week and is set to make the squad for the clash against their arch rivals. It is the first time the two teams, who have an illustrious history in European cup competitions, are meeting in a continental tournament, and after an intense first leg, the onus is on United to make a game of it as they look to overturn a two-goal deficit as they look to maintain their push for silverware this season.

The former Manchester City midfielder was forced to withdraw from training ahead of the first leg due to an illness and is hoping that a return to training this week will help him return to the starting line-up for their clash against the Red Devils. Milner, however, is likely to be named on the bench as Jurgen Klopp's midfield trio of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana were impressive and played a key role in helping the Reds to a 2-0 win. It is unlikely that Klopp will try and change a winning combination ahead of the crucial clash.

Martin Skrtel, meanwhile, is also itching to return to the first team after making a return from a hamstring injury that kept him out for over two months. The Slovakian defender put in a 70-minute shift for the Liverpool U21 side during their clash against the United reserves and is keen to be involved for their visit to Old Trafford.