New boys Norwich City are this weeks’ headline grabbers as the Canaries could be missing up to 11 players for the visit of the Champions, and Daniel Farke admits, that at this moment, he has more injured players than fit ones….!
The European calendar gets underway next week, and with Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all facing tricky Champions League away ties, expect one or two surprises when the team news is announced on Saturday.
Liverpool – vs – Newcastle United
Naby Keita is close, and he could be back with the group after the Champions League trip to Napoli next week. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is targeting a return after the next international break. "But when he will be ready 'we do not know'. It was a serious calf injury, and we cannot put any pressure on him." Klopp believes it was "perfect" that Salah and Mane did not go on international duty. "I am happy for them to play [for their country], but I say 500 times, the players who [don't] go, everything is different. A very intense period. Sadio and Mohamed have had time off they needed."
Sean Longstaff is ruled out of the game at Anfield after rolling his ankle in training on Thursday. "It’s one of those freak injuries. We won’t know how severe it is for a couple of days.” Allan Saint-Maximin has made "great progress" this week, and he could return against Brighton. Meanwhile, Andy Carroll will meet with an ankle specialist on Friday, and hopefully, the striker will be given the green light to continue stepping up his rehabilitation. Matt Ritchie is making a "remarkable" recovery from the ankle injury he suffered in the Carabao Cup. "He’s shocked us all. We weren’t expecting to see him for a couple of months, but with the way he’s trained – as long as there’s no reaction – I don’t think he’s too far away.” Miguel Almirón looks to be fine following his involvement with Paraguay. There were initial concerns that he suffered a knee injury after scoring for the national team – but it was only a minor knock. There was no mention of DeAndre Yedlin (groin surgery) who was supposed to return to the training pitches during the break. Dwight Gayle has been given some time off to recuperate. “We've had scan after scan and specialist after specialist. We just can't seem to get to the bottom [of his calf injury], so it's now complete rest."
Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Burnley
Graham Potter confirms Trossard could be missing for at least a month. "It's early stages with Leandro, but he's felt something in his groin - we're probably looking at after the next international break before he's available again." Yves Bissouma has had the go-ahead to start training with the team from next week, but Leon Balogun had a bit of tightness and needs an extra day to recover. "Apart from that, everyone else has come back fit and ready from their national sides." The Brighton boss had suggested before the break that Ezequiel Schelotto (ACL knee) was close to a return, but there was no update from him during Thursdays' press conference. José Izquierdo remains sidelined.
Sean Dyche plays down the ankle injury suffered by Danny Drinkwater, but the Chelsea loanee will not feature this weekend. “It needs to settle down, but it’s not serious." Robbie Brady (rib) is back in contention after coming through a development game unscathed, and Dwight McNeil (hamstring) is okay after missing out for England under-21s. Gudmundsson is expected to have a late fitness test. “Johann has got a niggly calf, he might make it, but we’ve got to make a judgement call on that one. Nothing too serious but he’s had treatment and is back on the grass." Ashley Barnes had a tight groin but should be fine.
Manchester United – vs – Leicester City
No Paul Pogba for United this weekend while Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw have not progressed as hoped; they too will miss the visit of Leicester City. No decision on Jesse Lingard (illness) or Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back) who "maybe" could make the squad. "I think that’s it from the ones that pulled out. But I can’t promise those two will be available either." Eric Bailly and Diogo Dalot are long-term, although the latter is close after his visit to see "miracle doctor" Eduardo Santos in China. "The treatment room has been busy and still is. So, we don’t really know who’s going to be available.”
Matty James has undergone a second surgical procedure on his Achilles within the space of 18 months. "He’s been so unfortunate with injuries. We’re not putting any timeline on it," said Brendan Rodgers. No other injury concerns which means Wes Morgan should be back in the reckoning.
Sheffield United – vs – Southampton
Chris Wilder hopes to have David McGoldrick (shoulder) and Callum Robinson (hamstring) in contention for the visit of Southampton this weekend. Both players were released from the Ireland squad due to minor issues after the 1-1 draw with Switzerland. "A couple of the Irish boys came back early. It gave [them] an opportunity to come back and have treatment, to give them the best possible chance to be available for the game on Saturday." No update on John Fleck, but his hamstring issue was only minor, and he has every chance of making the game.
Ralph Hasenhüttl confirms Nathan Redmond is making good progress in his recovery from an ankle ligament injury, but the forward remains unavailable for the trip to Bramall Lane. Michael Obafemi returns to the fold, but Moussa Djenepo only has an outside chance of making the game. "Let's see. I don't want to take too much risk because it's a very busy September." Ryan Bertrand is available after missing the previous three matches, and the left-back could return to the XI in place of defender Kevin Danso as he serves his one-match suspension.
Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Crystal Palace
Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring) and Eric Dier (hip) have all returned to full training. They will be assessed ahead of this weekends' game against Palace to determine their availability. Giovani Lo Celso (hip) is undergoing rehab and won't be ready until late-October while his compatriot - Juan Foyth (ankle) - has entered the final phase of his conditioning and is close to re-joining the main group. Davinson Sánchez has been complaining of irritation in his ankle and is under assessment.
Roy Hodgson confirms there are a "couple" of players who will be assessed on the morning of the game. Scott Dann (fractured hand) faces a late test, as does James McArthur due to an unspecified injury. Martin Kelly and Connor Wickham are both ruled out of the London derby. Mamadou Sakho will come under consideration after returning to the matchday squad in week four. The Eagles boss also said last month that James Tomkins would be fully recovered by "the end of the break" although a lack of fitness is likely to keep him out of the 18.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Chelsea
Matt Doherty comes back into contention following knee surgery, but the form of Adama Traoré could ensure the Irishman is restricted to a place on the bench. Roman Saïss is also clear following his withdrawal from the Morocco squad, and with Willy Boly serving a one-match ban, he might be handed a recall. Leander Dendoncker has recovered from the minor knock he suffered while training with Belgium.
Frank Lampard confirms Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will play for the U23s on Friday night. The pair are building fitness following Achilles and ankle injuries, respectively. Antonio Rüdiger is finally back in first-team contention - the defender had surgery on his knee in April. N'Golo Kanté (ankle) misses out again, and the Frenchman still needs a little more time. Pedro (hamstring) and Mateo Kovacic (Achilles) are available, but there was no update on Emerson who picked up a "small injury" playing for Italy. The full-back hadn't trained up to and including Thursday, and I suspect Marcos Alonso could return to the side.
Norwich City – vs – Manchester City
Norwich take on the Champions with a mounting injury list. Daniel Farke confirms defender Timm Klose (PCL knee) does not need surgery, although he will still be sidelined for around nine months. Christoph Zimmermann (foot) is ruled out for the remainder of the year. "His ligaments are okay, but it's a complicated injury." There are also concerns over the Canaries No.1 Tim Krul - although only minor - after he picked up a knock in training. "I may have to name three goalkeepers in the squad." Ben Godfrey came back from international duty with a groin strain and is a major doubt. Mario Vrancic (calf) is not available, and an ankle injury picked up playing for England Under-21s will keep Max Aarons out until after the next break. Patrick Roberts is ineligible under the terms of his loan deal, and Moritz Leitner hasn't trained for two weeks due to a calf complaint. Tom Trybull suffered ankle ligament damage at West Ham and may not feature again until November. Grant Hanley (groin) has trained but won't be considered for a start. "He could play 20/30 minutes tomorrow."
Pep expects Aymeric Laporte to return in early 2020. "Not long, five months, six months, next year... January or February." The club confirms he had knee surgery after damaging his cartilage and lateral meniscus. John Stones is fit and is expected to partner Nicolás Otamendi in the heart of the defence. Guardiola is confident that Leroy Sané can play again before the end of the season, the City coach even suggested that it 'might' be December or January. "He came back two days ago [from Austria] - he’s here with us, and hopefully he came back well." Ilkay Gundogan (illness) has "trained really good the last few days," and Gabriel Jesus is over his recent hamstring issue. Benjamin Mendy is involved in full training, and his knee is reacting well. "So, hopefully in the next few games [he will return]. We want to be careful, and sure, when he starts to play."
AFC Bournemouth – vs – Everton
Eddie Howe was still waiting on players to return from international duty at the time of his press conference, but the ones who have, are okay. That should hopefully include Chris Mepham who came off for Wales on Monday night (vs Belarus) as the game was played in Cardiff. Lloyd Kelly returned to the training pitches on Friday and could be back within a few weeks. "We're ahead of schedule, which is good. Probably the next couple of games after the international break is when I should be back." With Charlie Daniels ruled out, Diego Rico is an option at left-back, although Ake has deputised previously. Lewis Cook played 60 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game this week (vs QPR), and Howe will make a late call on the midfielder who has been sidelined since December. “This weekend might come a bit too early [but] he’s trained now for a sustained period of time and looked really good. He’s getting closer and closer." Bournemouth don't play until Sunday, so decisions will be made after the final session tomorrow, although Howe expects to have more or less the same squad as week four. Adam Smith (hamstring) is the primary concern after limping out of the Leicester fixture. Simon Francis is training with the team and Danjuma (foot) is also back out on the grass, although he won't be considered just yet. Elsewhere, David Brooks (ankle) and Dan Gosling (hip) are progressing; both players should return within their initial 12-week timeline. No further news on Junior Stanislas who was ruled out for 3/4 months in April.
Watford – vs – Arsenal
Quique Sánchez Flores is at the wheel. For the second time. But, only six players remain in the squad from his first tenure, and two of those, are out injured. Craig Cathcart told the media on Friday that he picked up a thigh injury while on international duty with Northern Ireland and the defender expects to miss the next two league games. Troy Deeney is still recovering from knee surgery after an operation last month. Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa or Sebastian Prödl could come in alongside Craig Dawson. Étienne Capoue is over the illness which ruled him out of week four.
Rob Holding is available for selection, but he faces a tough battle to oust Sokratis or David Luiz from the line-up. Héctor Bellerín and Kieran Tierney will need another week of first-team training (at least) before being considered. The pair are expected to play for the U23s first to build fitness. Granit Xhaka (Achilles) and Lucas Torreira (muscular discomfort) will be ready for Sunday, but Alexandre Lacazette is out of action until October due to a persistent ankle problem which he picked up in pre-season. 'We have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness. Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks,' read a statement on the clubs' website. Nicolas Pepe is fine after it was agreed that he would remain at London Colney during the break so that he could continue his fitness development programme.
Aston Villa – vs – West Ham United
James Chester is back with the group, but having been sidelined since July, the captain won't be considered until the end of September. "It’s been a niggling one. But he’s back in training now, and it’s a boost for all of us." Jonathan Kodjia fractured his cheekbone following an innocuous challenge with teammate Marvelous Nakamba in training. "We thought it was fine, but they picked up a fracture at the hospital, and he’s had an operation which means he will be out for two-to-three weeks." Matt Targett (hamstring) is "probably" looking at the Arsenal game for a potential return. "I think Monday will come too quickly for him." Trezeguet misses out due to a one-match ban.
“We have no new injuries following the international break,” confirmed Manuel Pellegrini. “We have all the players fit except Winston Reid and Michail Antonio, who had surgery on his leg.” Everyone else is available.