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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW36

by Ben Dinnery

Proceedings get underway at Anfield on Friday evening, and three points for the hosts would take them back to the top of the league. City don’t face Burnley until Sunday at Turf Moor, but having secured a point at Stamford Bridge, Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Sean Dyche’s men have not downed tools for the summer.

At the bottom, it looks like a straight shootout between Cardiff and Brighton, and just like the top two, this could go down to the wire.

Fourteen, yes, you read that right, 14 press conferences still to come, so tune in throughout for the latest updates.

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Liverpool – vs – Huddersfield Town

Dejan Lovren re-joined the group on Wednesday after missing the last two matches through illness. "So, that’s OK probably," but Jurgen Klopp will wait on Fabinho (head) and Adam Lallana (muscular). "A bit questionable, we don’t know exactly in the moment. We will have to see." Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also working with the squad. "[It’s] all good!" Mo Salah will be contention to face Huddersfield following concerns earlier in the week that Liverpool's top scorer would miss out after attending the Time 100 Gala in New York. "Today, (Thursday) he will be in training, everything will be fine again. He's back."

Jan Siewert confirms Ben Hamer is still carrying a knock and "won't be involved" on Friday night. Jonas Lössl will start in goal. Karlan Grant has worked well after illness disrupted his build-up to game week thirty-five. Danny Williams is training with the team, but he is out of contract in the summer, and the Terriers boss does not know if the midfielder will remain at the club. Adama Diakhaby comes back into contention after missing nine games with a hamstring strain. "He has had two full weeks now in training. He has no problems, and he’s confident," although he isn’t quite 100 per cent. “He’s a sprinter, and with a sprinter, you have to be careful that the injuries don’t come back.” Laurent Depoitre will not be available for tomorrow, but Jonathan Hogg has recovered from a minor knock. 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – West Ham United

Harry Winks (groin) is assessed daily so his involvement in the early game may not be known until the last moment. The 23-year-old has been struggling due to an ongoing groin issue for the past two months, and even if he is available, a place on the bench is most likely. Moussa Sissoko is not expected to return until early May, and Harry Kane is almost certain to miss the remaining Premier League fixtures. Serge Aurier (hamstring) continues his rehab while Erik Lamela appears to have suffered a setback after re-joining the group last week. With a Champions League semi-final first leg tie against Ajax coming up, expect Mauricio Pochettino to make changes which could see the likes of Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld miss out.

Jack Wilshere is back in contention, but his ongoing injury problems has resulted in him playing just ten minutes of Premier League football since the beginning of December. Javier Hernández looks set to return after missing the draw with Leicester because of an ear infection. Samir Nasri (calf) and Aaron Cresswell (knee) will be assessed on Friday. Manuel Lanzini (groin) is struggling to make this one. Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Andriy Yarmolenko will not feature in any of the remaining matches

 

Crystal Palace – vs – Everton

Last weekends’ win at Arsenal guaranteed top-flight football for another year, and Roy Hodgson may be tempted to involve some of his fringe players. The absence of James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp handed Joel Ward a rare start, and the defender is likely to continue at left-back. Only Luka Milivojevic has played more Premier League minutes than Andros Townsend, and Patrick Van Aanholt and the pair will be pushing for a recall after they were unused substitutes at the Emirates.

Lucas Digne (foot) is okay, but Everton have "big doubts" over the availability of Richarlison. “Yesterday (Wednesday) he tried to work with us. He felt different. Let’s see how he will react tomorrow. He will be a major doubt for us." Yerry Mina (hamstring) is working with the team, although he needs to build fitness. Theo Walcott has been sick and is flagged as an early doubt for the trip to Selhurst Park. He will be monitored over the next 24 hours and a decision taken closer to kick-off.

 

Fulham – vs – Cardiff City

Scott Parker says the "team news is pretty positive." Tom Cairney returns following the birth of his son while Alfie Mawson is in contention after missing four months with a knee injury.  “He’s been out for some time, so it’s pleasing to have him back. He came in over the summer as a big addition to the squad and has struggled a little bit with injuries, but he’s been back now for the last few weeks, so we’re looking forward to getting him involved.” There’s a slight doubt over André Schürrle due to his wife having a baby as well. Lazar Markovic (calf) and Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knee surgery) are out for the season. Marcus Bettinelli is progressing.

Harry Arter (calf) is rated as “touch and go” for this must-win game at Craven Cottage while his replacement last time out – Joe Ralls – may not feature again after tweaking his hamstring against Liverpool. Leandro Bacuna could come into midfield. Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson and Matthew Connolly are already focusing on a return to play in 2019/20.

 

Southampton – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Jannik Vestergaard (groin) will not recover from injury "that's for sure." Ryan Bertrand took a "hit on his ankle, and maybe, is also a question," said Ralph Hasenhüttl. Matt Targett is back on the training pitches, and he can be a direct replacement. Stuart Armstrong will have a minor hamstring issue assessed. Shane Long trained as normal on Thursday after picking up a knock at Vicarage Road. "It looks like he’ll be able to play at the weekend."

The Cherries have an extensive injury list and are limping their way through the remaining fixtures. With up to eight players at risk of missing out this weekend, Bournemouth will do well to take anything from this south coast derby. Joining long-term absentees – Andrew Surman, Lewis Cook, Charlie Daniels, Simon Francis and Diego Rico – Adam Smith was injured during last weekends’ warm-up while his replacement – Junior Stanislas – lasted only 23 minutes. To add to their defensive woes, Liverpool loanee Nathaniel Clyne is struggling to overcome a niggling hamstring problem.

 

Watford – vs – Wolverhampton Wanderers

José Holebas is hoping to shake off a muscular issue which has kept him out of the last two matches. Tom Cleverley (calf) has just started training with the squad again, but Sebastian Prodl is considered a doubt after suffering a knee injury. Troy Deeney serves the final game of his domestic ban, and Domingos Quina (dislocated shoulder) will play no further part this season.

Wolves are looking to finish the season on a high and back up Wednesday nights’ win over Arsenal. Nuno Espírito Santo is expected to have a full squad at his disposal and may look to freshen his side who play for the third time in 8 days.

 

Brighton and Hove Albion – vs – Newcastle United

Chris Hughton confirms the hamstring injury that Davy Propper suffered last weekend will keep him out of the game with Newcastle. Anthony Knockaert is back in contention after serving a three-match domestic ban.

Isaac Hayden (hip) and Fabian Schär (glutes) were pictured back on the training pitches after the pair were forced off during the win over Southampton. The 3-1 victory took Newcastle past the magical 40-point mark, and Rafa can relax knowing his job is done. Christian Atsu could replace the hamstrung Miguel Almirón. Elsewhere, Jonjo Shelvey, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Muto are all pushing for game time during the season run-in with only two starts between them all year.

 

Leicester City – vs – Arsenal

Wes Morgan travelled to West Ham (GW35) but was called away after his child was taken into hospital. The centre-back will be in contention. Daniel Amartey (ankle) is the only confirmed injury absence.

Unai Emery will make a late call on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following a minor surgical procedure on his nose. Back to back defeats threaten to scupper any chance of a Top Four finish so Arsenal cannot afford any more slip-ups. Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Denis Suarez (groin) could feature during the run-in, but the hopes of Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding were ended a long time ago.

 

Burnley – vs – Manchester City

A point at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening could be enough to convince Sean Dyche that his current starting XI can make it five games unbeaten. Burnley sit on 40-points, but with a superior goal difference, Cardiff would need nothing short of a miracle to catch them. Phil Bardsley could be back in the matchday squad after his stitches were removed from a deep (thigh) laceration and Peter Crouch (appendectomy) has returned to light training although Sunday is ‘probably’ too soon. Aaron Lennon will play some part in the next three games, but Steven Defour won’t despite making “very good progress” from calf surgery.

Benjamin Mendy has been a notable absentee from the matchday 18 for the past two games although there has been no official news from the club stating that the defender has suffered another setback. Similarly, Fabian Delph who seems to have dropped off the radar. Ilkay Gundogan has a chance following a “big kick” on his leg, but the prognosis does not look good for Fernandinho who was sent for a scan after twisting his knee when blocking a Paul Pogba effort in the derby. A hamstring strain could end Kevin De Bruyne’s season prematurely to complete a miserable campaign in terms of injury.

 

Manchester United – vs – Chelsea

Ander Herrera has been working with the group for over a week and having lost three-in-a-row, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer maybe tempted to throw the Spaniard straight back into the mix. Eric Bailly is injury-free for the first time in over a month while Phil Jones will be assessed after limping off at Everton six days ago. Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic all paid the price for a lacklustre performance at Goodison Park, and the trio will be hoping for an opportunity to make amendments in arguably the game of the weekend.

Antonio Rudiger (knee), N’Golo Kante (rib) and Marcos Alonso (glute) have all trained, and the trio stand a good chance of returning for the final game of week 35. Wales international Ethan Ampadu – who has been missing since suffering a back injury last month – is also with the squad. However, his minutes have mainly come in domestic and European cup competitions. Willian should recover from a minor knock, and Maurizio Sarri could consider the Brazilian after Callum Hudson-Odoi went under the knife having ruptured his Achilles on Monday.