As concerns mount over the complexion of Liverpool’s midfield, Harvey Elliott is set to give Jurgen Klopp a timely boost as he returns to full training next week.
Elliott has been sidelined since a late challenge from Leeds defender Pascal Struijk on September 12 left the youngster with a fracture-dislocation in his left ankle.
The midfielder has been working on his rehab with enthusiasm throughout his time out, with Elliott roundly praised by Klopp, his players and staff for his mentality.
That hard work has allowed him to accelerate his recovery, with a part in full training at Kirkby scheduled for next week.
Various Merseyside journalists reported the news on Friday night, with the Mail‘s Dominic King describing his comeback as having “gone smoothly” so far.
Liverpool’s No. 67 made a big impact in the early games of the season, taking up a first-choice role in Klopp’s midfield and shining against Burnley, Chelsea and Leeds.
Though it will still take time for Elliott to get back up to speed, his return to training could see him challenge for a starting spot again in the months to come.
His availability comes at a time when the Reds’ midfield options are in question, with Jordan Henderson and James Milner both struggling in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Thursday night.
Thiago, meanwhile, has been out since mid-December with a calf injury, while Naby Keita is at the Africa Cup of Nations and Klopp has overlooked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent games.
Curtis Jones has a bright future but, for now, is being utilised in attack, filling in for the absent Sadio Mane due to another injury for Divock Origi.
Elliott can and should be eased in – perhaps even with a place in the under-23s side for the trips to Crystal Palace (January 24) and Leeds (February 7) – but the hope will be that he can be influential again this season.
There is even a chance he takes on Leeds again in the Premier League, having been expected to miss their visit to Anfield, which has since been postponed.
No date has been confirmed for the Boxing Day fixture at this point, but it is unlikely it is slotted into the so-called winter break later this month, as suggested.