Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes the squad have handled the absence of key players Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana well and their impending comeback after the international break provides a chance to kick on.
Mane played 77 minutes in Sunday’s 4-1 win over West Ham, his first appearance in a month after a hamstring injury, while Lallana is due to play a behind-closed-doors friendly next week as he steps up his preparation for his first game of the season after a thigh problem.
Coutinho has joined up with the Brazil squad, despite an adductor problem forcing him to miss the club’s last three matches, and Mignolet is looking forward to seeing the trio all out on the pitch together again.
“I think we’ve been a bit unfortunate with the injuries and the suspensions,” he told liverpoolfc.com. “If you have three of those kind of players injured at the same time then it’s obviously a tough thing to deal with, but at the same time the squad’s stayed calm underneath it.
“Hopefully after the international break they will be pushing the rest of the squad forward by adding in the goals and giving us a bigger platform to go from.”
Liverpool have performed not too badly in their absence, sitting fifth in the Premier League, just four points behind second-placed Manchester United, unbeaten in Europe and just one win away from qualification for the Champions League knockout stage.
But the key trio’s return would certainly provide a boost for manager Jurgen Klopp as he seeks to manage his squad during a period which will see the Reds play 13 games in 45 days, including eight in 29 days during December.
“If you get players like them coming back and being fresh after not playing much recently, that can give not only a boost to the team, but also a boost to them individually,” added Mignolet.
“They will be raring to go and very eager to get on the pitch and score the goals they’ve wanted to because they’ve been missing out, and I’m sure they will be ready for any battle that comes ahead of them when we come back after the international break.”
Any distant hope Klopp may have had about considering trying to bring forward RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita’s move to Anfield has been dashed by the Bundesliga club.
Liverpool have already agreed a £55million deal for the Guinea international to join next summer, but, with Leipzig struggling to qualify for the later stages of the Champions League, there was speculation the Reds may have tried to get the player in early.
“Even if we should not reach the knockout stages of the Champions League it would make no sense to allow Naby to join Liverpool earlier,” sporting director Ralf Rangnick told the Leipziger Volkszeitung. “We want to qualify for Europe again, and we need Naby for that.”
Source: By PA Sport Staff