Liverpool and England midfielder Adam Lallana will step up his comeback from injury next week with a behind-closed-doors match.
Jurgen Klopp will arrange the 90-minute game at the club’s training ground for Lallana to complete the next stage of his rehabilitation. The 29-year-old has yet to play this season after hurting his thigh in the summer.
The game, involving senior and youth players, is also expected to include those who are not involved in the internationals, such as James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Lallana has been sorely missed during this campaign, the midfielder often cited by Klopp as the trigger for his high-pressing style.
He suffered the injury during Liverpool’s Audi Cup summer tournament in Munich, and has since missed all 18 fixtures in this campaign.
Should he come through unscathed next week, he would be in contention to face his former club Southampton in the next Premier League game, at least rejoining the squad. Liverpool then travel to Sevilla for a crucial Champions League fixture.
To have Lallana fit again would complete a more promising few weeks for club, Klopp’s side claiming three consecutive victories and now standing just four points behind second-placed Manchester United.
Klopp will be anxiously monitoring Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho while they are on international duty. The former has only just recovered from a hamstring problem and Coutinho is still not 100 per cent fit.
Brazil’s doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, says Coutinho is struggling to feature in the friendlies. “Coutinho has an abductor muscle injury in his left thigh,” he said.
“The chances that he will play against Japan are tiny, but we are working to make him available against England.”
Liverpool have rarely been able to field Mane, Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah at the same time. Lallana has not been able to join this group since the pre-season warm-up games.