West Ham United look set to be handed a sizable injury boost in advance of their next Premier League fixture against Liverpool on 24 February, with Manuel Lanzini seemingly backing up teammate Adrian's claims that he is closing in on a return to full first-team training.
One of the club's most influential performers, attacking midfielder Lanzini had laid on eight assists in addition to notching three goals in 20 appearances across all competitions so far this term before missing the last four matches against Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford with a hamstring injury suffered during the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last month.
Manager David Moyes, as quoted by talkSPORT, initially claimed to be "worried" over the extent of the problem, which he thinks was as the result of fatigue.
Lanzini assured West Ham supporters that he would be back soon in a short video clip posted by the club before the 2-0 victory over Watford last weekend and football.london subsequently speculated that he could be in contention for the trip to Liverpool, though stated that the visit to Swansea City on 3 March was a more likely return date.
Hopes that the Argentine could feature at Anfield were boosted on Wednesday by goalkeeper Adrian, who, while speaking to West Ham TV, stated that "Manu is ready to come to the team".
West Ham, who themselves stated in that same article that Lanzini could be in contention to start against Liverpool, followed that up with another quick interview with the 25-year-old in which he stated that his injury was improving and that he hoped to join his teammates at Rush Green next week having already completed some high-intensity solo work.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "My injury is getting better every day and I'm expect to be back very soon. I'm training hard and I expect to go back with the team next week."
Only Andy Carroll (foot fracture) will remain absent from the West Ham attack upon Lanzini's imminent return, with Marko Arnautovic having netted the second goal against Watford in his first appearance since suffering his own hamstring injury in the same meeting with Bournemouth.
Winston Reid missed that win over the Hornets that temporarily sent Moyes' 12th-place side five points clear of the relegation zone with a throat infection, while Edimilson Fernandes has been nursing an ankle injury since early December.
Jose Fonte is now back in the fold after ankle surgery, but Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang is likely to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery in Barcelona to repair a damaged medial collateral ligament. Patrice Evra is still awaiting his Hammers debut having remained an unused substitute against Watford three days after securing a surprise return to England.
Neither West Ham nor Liverpool, who thrashed FC Porto 5-0 last night in their first Champions League knockout game for nine years thanks to goals from the lethal front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, are in FA Cup fifth-round action this weekend owing to their previous losses to Wigan and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
There is no warm weather training camp scheduled for West Ham this week, but their next opponents are now heading from Portugal to Marbella for a four-day trip.