Stoke City midfielder Glenn Whelan remains a doubt for Sunday's Premier League clash with Liverpool after injuring his back climbing out of his car. The Republic of Ireland midfielder has been ever-present in the Stoke XI this season but his 100% starting record is under threat after suffering his bizarre injury prior to last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea City.
Whelan has been hampered by the problem all week but Potters manager Mark Hughes is hopeful his midfielder recovers in time for his side's visit to Anfield on Sunday 10 April.
"He got out of his car and locked his back," Hughes told a press conference. "It was innocuous. He played the game last weekend but as the game progressed he felt it tightening up. He has been locked up all week unfortunately but there was more freedom in it today. Hopefully he will be okay in time for the game on Sunday. Usually these sort of problems resolve themselves quickly."
Ryan Shawcross meanwhile has also been sidelined with a back problem of his own but returned to training this week and Hughes will consider recalling the centre half on Sunday.
"He has had a good week. It is about whether he can cope with the work that we give him and he has come through all of that this week. He is available for Sunday. I spoke earlier in the week about maybe needing to give him a reserve team game, but given how he has progressed I don't think there is a need for that. He is certainly in my thoughts for the game."
Xherdan Shaqiri also returned to training this week after recovering from a thigh strain and is "fine" for the visit of Jurgen Klopp's side, but it may be too soon for Marko Arnautovic, who suffered a knee injury in the draw with Swansea.
"He twisted his knee last weekend during the game. He played on, but afterwards there was a bit of discomfort which is still there. Maybe the game on Sunday will be too soon for him. We hope he is available but we will make a decision closer to kick-off with Marko."