CHAMPIONS LEAGUE | LIVERPOOL-NAPOLI
Salah's "looking really good" but Matip to miss Napoli game
Jürgen Klopp hinted that Mohamed Salah could return after overcoming an ankle injury but centre-back Joel Matip is "improving but still not ready".
Mohamed Salah's ankle problems have appeared to have completely cleared up and is no longer a worry for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who confirmed that the Egyptian forward could start Wednesday's Champions League clash against Napoli. Salah watched Liverpool's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday from the subs' bench as the Reds boss decided against taking any unnecessary risks with one of his key men.
Since picking up the injury during Liverpool's win over Leicester City in October, Salah has been on a reduced training programme and opted out of international duty while Egypt played Kenya and Comoros earlier this month.
When asked about Salah's situation ahead of the Napoli game, Klopp told a news conference: "Really good, [he] looked really good in training yesterday especially, after the game. Yesterday we didn't do too much so we'll see [if he is able to play], but I'm not worried about it."
Matip still not ready to return
Klopp also provided an update on Joel Matip's knee injury, which has kept the 28-year-old centre-back out of action for over a month. Matip's last appearance came in Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on 20 October and Klopp refused to put a date on his return. "Joel is improving but still some time away from the team because this week is an important one, we will build, we have to measure the improvement of the healing with a scan probably," said Klopp. "And then we will see how it is. From that moment on, we can make decisions. It's nothing you can rush, you just have to wait. Our body is like this from time to time. So nothing new really about him."
Liverpool can make sure of progress to the Champions League knock-out phase with a win against Napoli, who beat them in the opening round of group games in September. Yet Klopp warned his players against the temptation of looking forward to what for them might be a dead rubber against Salzburg in December. The Reds are top of Group E, one point clear of Napoli and five ahead of the Austrians with two group games left to play. Klopp said he is focused on his reigning European champions getting a result against Carlo Ancelotti's men, whose form has dipped in the last month.
Klopp expecting Napoli to be as strong as ever
"The biggest mistake we could make is thinking about what would happen if we win it," said Klopp. "That's the target, but it's the same for Napoli - if they win the game, they're through as well. I expect them to be really strong. They are a sensationally good football team. Yes, they didn't have the results they'd expect in the last couple of weeks, but they might feel a kind of relief that they can feel free in a game like this."
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