Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold. PA
back on track

Huge boost for Liverpool as Alexander-Arnold rejoins training after rapid recovery

The right-back was sidelined after the victory over Arsenal on 16 March.

LIVERPOOL HAVE BEEN handed a major boost in the Premier League title race with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rapid recovery from a hamstring injury.

The right-back, the team’s leading assist provider with 17 this season, was sidelined after the victory over Arsenal on 16 March, forcing him to pull out of England duty and pitting him in a race against time to be ready for next weekend’s top-of-the-table clash at Manchester City.

However, Alexander-Arnold has rejoined training ahead of schedule and could play a part in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford or, if not, he should definitely be ready for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Benfica.

“Trent trained yesterday parts and will be in full training today and we will see what we do with it,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“It is tight for tomorrow but it’s possible from what I hear. With our rehab and fitness department, it was really intense what he did with us. Physically he should be fine, now I have to make a decision about rhythm.”

Klopp dismissed any suggestion Alexander-Arnold had avoided England’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast to aid his recovery, with the player having already sat out Liverpool’s FA Cup quarter-final win at Nottingham Forest.

“Trent wanted to go to the national team but he couldn’t. If you could see the scans, you cannot go anywhere,” added the Reds boss.

“But sometimes injuries, thank God, are not that serious that you are out for five or six weeks. Sometimes it is two and that’s the case with Trent.”

Klopp, meanwhile, is confident there will be no hangover for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane from their World Cup meeting in midweek, when Salah’s Egypt lost a penalty shoot-out to Mane’s Senegal to miss out on a spot in Qatar.

Footage showed Salah being targeted by green lasers before missing his spot-kick, with Senegal repeating their African Cup of Nations triumph over the Pharoahs.

Klopp said: “I’m obviously really happy for Sadio that he could make it and I’m obviously very disappointed and feel with Mo. I don’t think the situation with the penalty and the lasers was particularly cool.

“It’s different when two mates in such a big game play against each other but they both are top professionals, very emotional people as well, but I’m pretty sure they both will deal with it in the right way.

“Mo wants to win as much as he can, that’s why he was very disappointed about the fact they couldn’t win the one tournament and qualify for the World Cup. His desire will rather be bigger now than lesser. He’s a very smart person so he sees the difference between all these kind of things.”

Having reeled in Manchester City in recent weeks, Liverpool have the chance to move to the top of the table for the first time since September before City take on Burnley at 3pm.

Klopp is far more concerned, though, about making sure his players are ready for the early kick-off against Roy Hodgson’s strugglers with only one full training session possible before the match.

He said: “How important is it to be top of the league at 2.30pm when all the rest is playing after? It’s not too important.

“We were most of the time in a situation where Man City played before us. This time we play first but I couldn’t care less what is after that. It’s just about how well are we prepared for the 12.30pm situation.

“Because we face Watford, Watford won the last game, Watford smells the chance to stay in the league. They will go with everything. Obviously a very experienced manager, the way they set up, very well organised, a lot of individual talent.

“What we need for this game is the best 12.30pm atmosphere ever. Not nervous, not tense – if you cannot shout and sing, stay at home and give your ticket to somebody else please.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella look ahead to Twickenham and two big URC games involving three of the provinces

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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