Football

Klopp sweating over Salah's fitness

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp faces an anxious wait over the fitness of forward Mohamed Salah as the English Premier League leaders prepare for a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Egyptian forward Salah has been struggling with an ankle injury since a heavy challenge from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury during Liverpool’s 2-1 win early last month.

He was ruled out of Egypt’s matches against Kenya and Comoros and was pictured wearing a protective boot on his left ankle last week.

“Yesterday he trained. He has been training the things we want him to do. It’s not that he has got worse, it’s just that it (the injury) is there still,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday (Nov 22).

“We have to be sensible. I have to see the session today before I make a decision.” Virgil van Dijk is available for selection after he pulled out of Holland's squad for the match against Estonia in midweek.

But Klopp is yet to assess the fitness of other key players who have returned from international duty.

“Virgil is 100 per cent available. I cannot say 100 per cent for the others,” the German coach added.

“Today is an important session with the players who came back late – Bobby (Roberto Firmino), Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum. You have to wait until the last second to make a decision but nobody came back injured.”

Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri has returned to first-team training after missing over a month due to a recurring calf issue.

Shaqiri has featured for around 25 minutes for Liverpool this season and has made only one start since January, but Klopp is convinced the player still has a future at Anfield and will play a key role in the coming weeks.

“When I am with him, he is fine here, speculation is speculation and nothing we can change,” Klopp said.

“I have no idea what I can say about it. He absolutely has a future here. This season, he is a very, very important player for us. He needs to be fit for the impact he can give us and that is all we are focused on.”

Shaqiri's return could not be more timely as the Reds start a daunting run of 13 games in 41 days, including the Fifa Club World Cup in Qatar. – REUTERS

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