Dejan Lovren has visited a strength and conditioning coach back home in Croatia in an attempt to be fit to face Bayern Munich.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed on Thursday that he has been planning without the centre-half for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against his old German foes at Anfield.
World Cup 2018 finalist Lovren missed the Reds’ training camp in Marbella this week as he returned to his homeland for specific fitness and strengthening work on the hamstring injury that has kept him out since January 7.
Despite his own outward pessimism, former Borussia Dortmund coach Klopp hasn’t given up all hope of the defender making a late claim to a place in the side to meet Bayern.
Lovren has been receiving treatment all week, and is scheduled to return to Liverpool’s training ground on Saturday to join up with the squad ahead of their mouthwatering European tie.
Klopp explained: “I don’t want to rule it out, but I cannot really plan with it.
“From Saturday on, Dejan is back at Melwood and we will see. If Dejan gives a sign on Monday – ‘I feel brilliant’ – then we’d have to think anew. But, of course, we have to prepare it differently. He is not here (in Marbella) for good reasons, because he cannot be part of training.
“In the moment we prepare the game, and in this preparation Dejan is not involved. We have to find other solutions.”
While Lovren remains a huge doubt for Tuesday, Klopp had better news on Gini Wijnaldum.
The key midfielder returned to training this week after a bout of illness that he played through to score in the weekend win over Bournemouth but had sidelined him during the camp in Marbella.
“So he had a little dip (with illness, but will start (training) today so that’s good,” Klopp said before Thursday afternoon’s session.
The Liverpool boss also gave all-clears for James Milner, who was also suffering with sickness, and Fabinho (slight muscle strain). Lovren and Joe Gomez apart, he now has a clean bill of health with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri both returning to training.
However, Virgil van Dijk is suspended for Bayern’s visit, leaves him with a central defensive headache.
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