Lucas Leiva
Leiva is one of two players close to returning for Liverpool.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says both Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva have returned to training in a major boost to the club's Champions League qualification hopes.

Sakho has been out since December with a hamstring problem, while Lucas is a long-term injury victim having suffered a knee problem in January.

Both players have now returned to training and while the pair are unlikely to feature in the Premier League trip to Southampton, Rodgers is revelling in the boost to the remainder of Liverpool's season.

"We've obviously had a couple of players return to training," Rodgers said. "Young Sakho has trained this week, which has been great. We'll see if it's too early for him this weekend.

"And Lucas Leiva re-joined the group today, which was great."

Another long-term injury victim Jose Enrique is also closing in on a return for Liverpool having been out since November with a knee injury.

"Jose Enrique is still out, but apart from that we don't have any major injuries now," Rodgers explained.

"It has just been ongoing. He has obviously got the issue with his knee; he has come back after a good spell in America.

"He is rehabilitating well here. There's no timeline on it. I trust the medical team here, they are very good, and they'll advise me when he's nearly fit."

Amid Liverpool's swashbuckling attacking prowess, the club's deficiencies at the back – which were accentuated during the 4-3 win over Swansea City – are threatening to derail the club's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Liverpool are now the highest scorers in the Premier League but have conceded more than any of the current top seven and the return of Sakho and Leiva will come as a major boost to the Reds ahead of a month of games where they face Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.