Klopp faces first selection headache as injury woes ease
REUTERS - Manager Juergen Klopp is looking forward to his first selection headache of the season as a number Liverpool's key players have returned to fitness ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
Klopp has been dogged by an unusually large number of injuries since he took over at Liverpool in October and has not been helped by a congested fixture list.
The Merseyside club have played more games than any other team in England this season and at one point last year the German had 11 first-team players out injured.
Ahead of the trip to relegation-threatened Villa, Klopp has four senior strikers available for the first time.
"Beforehand, everyone who walked, played. Now, hopefully, we have to make some decisions," the German told reporters on Friday.
With Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi returning to action in the 2-1 defeat by West Ham United in the FA Cup on Tuesday, Klopp has a wealth of attacking options to choose from alongside the in-form Roberto Firmino and the misfiring Christian Benteke.
Benteke, who has scored six league goals this season, received advice from the German ahead of the game against his old club.
"I talked to him a few times, gave him some advice as a coach and human being, and he's tried to come back to an easy moment," Klopp said.
"I can do a lot of things but as it is with any player, the last thing must be from the player. It isn't the easiest period of his career but it would be a bigger problem if he wasn't getting the chances."
Liverpool can also look forward to the return of defender Dejan Lovren when they travel to Germany to take on Augsburg in the Europa League next week. Martin Skrtel is back in training and building up match fitness.
Midfielder Joe Allen, however, is facing a spell on the sidelines after picking up a shoulder injury against West Ham.
Liverpool, ninth in the table and through to the League Cup final, are hoping to avoid a third successive league game without a win.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)