Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is braced to return from a knee problem which has forced him to miss the club's last two matches. The Croatian centre-back travelled to Germany to see a specialist, missing the club's mid-season training camp in La Manga, having not featured since January's draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Striker Daniel Sturridge was sent home from the four-night trip to Spain due to a virus and had not trained as a result, meaning he is sidelined for the Monday [27 February] night trip to managerless Leicester City – who have sacked first team coach Claudio Ranieri. Lucas Leiva, Ovie Ejaria, Marko Gruijic, Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings remain long-term absentees.

"I knew La Manga would be good as I'd been there five times for Dortmund," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said, according to the Liverpool Echo. "Unfortunately not all the players could join us. Daniel tried but we had to send him home. He'll probably come in today for the first time after a few days. Dejan Lovren couldn't join us either but he was running today and felt good, he could take a few more steps in the right direction.

"There's no long-term concern about his knee. Before Chelsea he struggled a little bit, in the warm-up it felt better but after the game the pain was too big for him. We sent him to a specialist and the specialist found a few things not directly on the knee and he was fine. About five minutes ago I spoke to him and he was really well running outside and should be training tomorrow. He will be very, very close for the Leicester game."

Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge
Lovren and Sturridge were both absent from the four-night trip to La Manga. Getty Images

Off the field, Liverpool have this week confirmed they will move from their Melwood training base and embark on a £50m upgrade of their Kirkby academy, where first team and development squads will be based. Klopp is thrilled with the news, which has reached the public consultation process and can help the club take the next step.

"It will be bigger," he added. "We cannot avoid this. We cannot stay where we are and cope with the other teams. Sometimes you have to set standards and it's really good we have the opportunity to make the big step in the future. 25 years ago Melwood set a level.

"If we want to have one more office, we have nowhere to go. That's the situation at Melwood. One point is bringing the Academy and first team together, and another is to improve other things we couldn't here. I really believe the infrastructure helps. If we stay at Melwood for the next 25 years that's not good for the club."

With Arsenal not in action this weekend, Liverpool can go back into the top four if they beat the champions at the King Power Stadium. Klopp's side could even finish the 26<sup>th round of games in second, should Tottenham Hotspur slip up at home to Stoke City.