Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Adam Lallana will play some part against his former club Southampton on Saturday (18 November) but does not think it is a "good idea" to play the midfielder for 90 minutes on his return from injury.
Lallana has not played at all so far this campaign after suffering a serious thigh problem during the Reds' pre-season clash against Atletico Madrid. The 29-year-old travelled to Qatar in order to accelerate his recovery and returned to first-team training during the international break, much to Klopp's delight.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss is all too aware of just how important Lallana is to Liverpool's pressing style but is keen to manage the England international's return ahead of a busy period for the Merseysiders.
Lallana is unable to play the full 90 minutes against his former side this weekend, but Klopp is planning to utilise the former Southampton captain against Mauricio Pellegrino's side and also hopes to be able to deploy Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson.
"Sadio we have to wait we will to see today," Klopp said in his press conference ahead of the Southampton clash. "Adam is in training but for three-four days, it's fantastic he's back but in the next few weeks we'll have games every few days so we won't rush him back, we will see what we do in his case. Hendo should be okay, he used the week he had well to recover from different things, he's on a good way."
After missing the opening three months of the season Lallana is understandably desperate to pull on a Liverpool jersey and return to first-team action, but Klopp, who has had to deal with a smorgasbord of injury concerns this season, is opting to take a cautious approach with one of his most important players to ensure he can have a lasting effect on Liverpool's fortunes between now and the end of the campaign.
"It's different to Sadio for example, he was out for much longer, since pre-season," Klopp said. "He's fantastic but we want him for the season, the player wants to be back immediately but i have to be the bad guy and say not today, maybe tomorrow. We will see and it depends how the other players are. We will use him for sure, but 90 minutes? No, that's not a good idea."
Though Lallana is on the brink of making his return, Nathaniel Clyne is in the midst of his rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on his troublesome back problem. The full-back recently underwent surgery in order to try and cure his ailment and now has a clear road to recovery, but Klopp can only sympathise with the former Saints and Crystal Palace full-back as he gets set for another three months on the sidelines.
"All specialists agreed we should try the conservative way not with surgery but now agreed we had to go this way," Klopp said. "Now we've had the surgery it's clear when he should be back so that's good. But of course it's difficult for him."