Blaise Bourgeois

Nathaniel Clyne close to first team return

Liverpool right-back racing to make England’s World Cup team.

Nathaniel Clyne surprised many by refusing to be substituted as Liverpool under-23s cruised to a 4-0 win over Stoke City in Premier League 2 action.

Clyne saw his season cut short by a back injury suffered during a preseason match against Tranmere Rovers, and underwent surgery in November to further alleviate the issue.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool - Premier League

Jürgen Klopp now faces a selection headache, as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have played well in Clyne’s absence. “It (right back) is one of the most important (positions) in world football because they were defenders but now they are sometimes defenders and sometimes attackers.

“Clyne is the most experienced one but was injured. He has speed, is technically good, he is not really an offensive player, but he protects well and helps a lot in defensive moments.

“Gomez is coming from the centre more, he will in the future play there. He has to improve but is more the defensive part for a full-back.

“Then there is Trent, who is very offensive-orientated, fantastic crosses, a good footballer.”

Clyne had previously stepped up his rehabilitation by traveling with the squad to the recent warm-weather training camp in Marbella.

Jordan Henderson was one of the many players impressed with Clyne’s progress: “He was back in the sessions in Marbella and I could see the lads looking at each other and thinking how sharp he is. He’s come back in fantastic shape and he’s a naturally fit person anyway.

“This is a massive boost for us because Clyney is international quality and will 100% make us even more competitive between now and the season finishing.”