Emre Can was forced to withdraw from Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund in the quarter final of the Europa League at Anfield, and seemed like the German’s season had come to an abrupt end. However, he has made a shock recovery from his ankle injury and could be in contention to face Villarreal on Thursday night.
The 22-year-old joined the training with Jurgen Klopp’s squad on Monday and according to the Express’s Paul Joyce, he has only three days time to prove his fitness.
Liverpool are 1-0 down from the first leg against Villarreal, and need at least two goals to reach a final clash with either Sevilla or Shakhtar Donetsk. Klopp is hopeful of a successful comeback, and with Can set to return to the squad, the midfield will be heavily boosted.
In absence of both Can and Henderson, Klopp used James Milner, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva in the first leg at El Madrigal. Although, Klopp may loathe to risk his young midfield star, but if Can proves his fitness ahead of the match, the German might be tempted to start with him on Thursday night. This is a do-or-die game for Liverpool, and Klopp has no options rather to field his strongest XI possible. In that case, either Allen or Lucas will miss out.
Another major dilemma facing by the Reds manager is whether to start with Daniel Sturridge. Roberto Firmino was used as a false 9 in the first leg, while Sturridge watched the game from the bench. However, with the Reds needing goals to progress to the finals, Klopp would ask Sturridge to shoulder the responsibility, as the England striker remains Liverpool’s potent attacking threat in front of goal.
Sturridge started in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Swansea on Sunday lunch time at the Liberty Stadium, but had failed to make any significant impact.
Christian Benteke scored the only goal for the Reds in Wales and the Belgian striker could be hoping for an opportunity to impress his manager.