James Milner says the news that both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are poised to return to Liverpool will boost the Reds’ chances of grabbing glory as the season comes to a pulsating conclusion.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to begin full training next week and Gomez is nearing a return with more work needed on his conditioning before he completes his comeback.
And as Jurgen Klopp’s men head in to the home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in a must-win game as far as trying to claim the Premier League crown is concerned, vice-captain Milner says the news is hugely positive. He told the club’s official website: “I think it’s important that we have everyone available. That’s why you need a squad when you have these sorts of injuries and stuff.
“Ox has obviously been out a long time and was playing fantastically well before he got injured, Joe the same. He’s been brilliant when he’s played this season and formed a great partnership with Virgil. And all credit to Joel for coming and stepping in when he’s had his own injury problems — he stepped in straight away like he’d never been away — and obviously Dejan Lovren is coming back and things like that.
“So, it’s important with the amount of games you’ve got and the intensity of the run-in that we have the squad, and everyone’s going to have a big impact on the end of the season even if they’re not out on the field — just in training keeping that intensity and pushing people for their starting places. I think the more difficult it is for the manager to pick a team, the better it is for the team to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Klopp reckons his side have given themselves as good a chance as any of claiming a prize, with both the Premier League title and the Champions League still up for grabs. Currently, the Anfield giants lead Manchester City by two points at the summit of the top-flight, having played a game more. And they face Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
And Klopp said: “It is exciting, absolutely. That’s what we were always talking about — a season is like that, you constantly prepare a basis for the final weeks. We are now in the final weeks and there will be no interruption anymore, there will only be game after game after game and they all are very, very important.”
Following the home game against Tottenham, Klopp’s outfit have to go to Southampton, Cardiff and Newcastle, and will host Chelsea, Huddersfield and Wolves. Klopp is keeping his cards close to his chest when analysing the fixtures, adding: “I think only Wolves in the last match, they are not fighting for Champions League and not fighting for staying in the league, but we all see what shape they are in — and they can go to the FA Cup final, so that’s exciting for them. But these are our opponents.
“Champions League, we don’t have to talk about that because they are all finals, each game is a final. Hopefully we can stay in that competition for a while. We created a wonderful base, now let’s use it.”