Pep Guardiola is set to be handed a major injury boost ahead of Manchester City's clash against Liverpool on Saturday (9 September) with Ilkay Gundogan pushing for a return to the first-team after recovering from the knee injury he sustained in December last year.

The German midfielder joined City from Borussia Dortmund last summer and was impressive in the 16 appearances he made across all competitions before sustaining cruciate ligament damage during a game against Watford, which ended his debut campaign in the Premier League.

The midfielder has recovered from the injury and is said to be pushing for a return to the first-team ahead of Liverpool's visit to the Etihad Stadium this weekend. Gundogan's first appearance in almost 10 months came in a Premier League 2 game for City's Under-23 team against the Leicester City reserves on 25 August, when he played 62 minutes.

According to the Sun, Guardiola is considering including the Germany international in his squad for the game against the Merseyside club after a source close to the club confirmed that he has fully recovered from the injury sustained at the end of last year.

"He is pushing hard for a first-team comeback. He's played a few development games and friendlies," a source close to the club said, as quoted by The Sun. "His progress has been great and the coaching staff are delighted. Pep will take a closer look at him this week."

"The medical staff will have a say, but he has fully recovered from his injury and it's just down to his core fitness now," the source added.

Gundogan has a genuine chance of being in the matchday squad on Saturday after he was pictured training with the rest of the first-team squad on Wednesday (6 September) as they prepared for the clash against Jurgen Klopp's in-form side.

Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan has rejoined first-team training after recovering from a knee injury sustained last December Getty