Liverpool's Champions League qualification bid has been handed a major boost with the news that England internationals Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge have both returned to training ahead of the final four games of the season. The Reds' pursuit of a top four place is out of their hands after the defeat to Crystal Palace, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all with games in hand over Jurgen Klopp's men.
Lallana has not played since the international break in March due to a hamstring injury which has seen him miss the last five games including the 2-1 loss to Palace last weekend. Sturridge meanwhile has been nursing a hip problem which kept him out against The Eagles amid a campaign during which he has been restricted to just five Premier League starts.
But both players will train ahead of Liverpool's trip to Watford on Monday [1 May], but captain Jordan Henderson remains out. Sadio Mane, Ragnar Klavan, Ovie Ejaria, Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings remain out with longer-term problems, but loanee Mamadou Sakho will play for Palace again this season after avoiding a knee ligament injury against Tottenham Hotspur.
The game at Vicarage Road comes after Liverpool's top four rivals will have already played. But Klopp is unperturbed by having to respond to the likes of City and United, given that that is allows Lallana more time to recuperate.
"Adam [Lallana] is back in team training for the first time, Hendo not on the pitch, Daniel [Sturridge] in team training too," the Liverpool boss said, according to the Liverpool Echo. "When we saw pics of Mamadou Sakho it looked awful. But now we know that there are no ligaments involved. Out for a few weeks.
"It's Monday night – so we can give Lallana some more time training. But the other teams will play and could go ahead – maybe that's not too cool. Today we had a really important session, Adam involved, Sturridge involved.
"We are not surprised when Mane is sidelined, Lallana is sidelined, Henderson is sidelined, Sturridge is sidelined – we are not surprised about this. It was unlucky that all at the same moment we cannot use them. We still could have won the game, that's how it is. We will learn, we are working on strengthening the squad, that's clear."