Liverpool could welcome back James Milner for their eagerly-anticipated 2016/17 Premier League season opener at Arsenal. The reliable vice-captain, who recently announced his retirement from international duty, has been considered doubtful for Sunday's 14 August trip to north London after being replaced by Alberto Moreno shortly before half-time during last weekend's friendly clash with Barcelona at Wembley due to a heel injury.
Jurgen Klopp admitted after that surprising 4-0 rout of the reigning La Liga champions that Milner, who exited the stadium on crutches, "did not look too good" and would undergo a scan to determine the extent of the damage. In a further update issued earlier this week, he revealed that the player was suffering from bruising and, while the issue was certainly not as serious as first anticipated, insisted that no risks would be taken at this juncture.
When questioned about Milner again during a pre-match press conference held at Melwood on Friday lunchtime, Klopp offered hope that he could feature at Arsenal. As quoted by the Liverpool Echo, he said: "With Milly, it's not too serious. When we saw him on crutches... Milly on crutches is something you cannot bring together.
"In Germany, we say, he can usually walk with one leg under his arm. It's a bruise in the heel, if he says it's a little bit too painful, then for sure (it's an injury). We could test it each day, I'm not sure when we should test it. We have to wait a little but it's possible he can be involved at the weekend."
Daniel Sturridge could also feasibly return at the Emirates Stadium, although that seems very unlikely at this stage. The injury-plagued England forward is struggling with another hip problem and missed both installments of Liverpool's final pre-season double-header against Barcelona and Mainz. He trained on Wednesday before feeling the problem again 24 hours later.
"Sturridge could be involved in team training but missed a few sessions so we have to make a decision, if we use the next three, four, five days," Klopp added. "For some players, the pre-season will be longer as they have not been back as long. It makes sense to extend the pre-season for these players. He could train today 100%, after this I will make a decision what kind it will be."
Both Dejan Lovren and Marko Grujic are also available after knocks, but centre-backs Mamadou Sakho, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are all sidelined. Lucas Leiva is also set to miss out with a hamstring injury and new goalkeeper Loris Karius is recovering from surgery on a broken right hand. Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan could all make their competitive debuts for Liverpool.