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Emre Can trains for Liverpool ahead of schedule

Emre Can holds his injured leg during Liverpool's match against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield. Credit: PA

Emre Can's return to training this week has handed Liverpool a boost ahead of their crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

The Germany international was expected to be sidelined for about a month after spraining ankle ligaments against Borussia Dortmund on April 14.

However, Can rejoined first-team training on Monday, just 18 days after sustaining the injury which resulted in him having to wear a protective boot and use crutches for several days.

The 22-year-old trained with all the players who did not start the 3-1 defeat to Swansea on Sunday afternoon.

No decision has been made yet on whether he will be available for Thursday's crunch tie with La Liga side, who come to Anfield holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

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Benteke available to play for Liverpool at Villarreal

Striker Christian Benteke has travelled with Liverpool's squad for their Europa League semi-final first-leg tie in Villarreal.

Benteke has recovered from injury at just the right time. Credit: PA

The Belgium international has not featured for the club since the 3-2 defeat at Southampton on March 20 after sustaining a knee injury training with the international side.

However, manager Jurgen Klopp has included in him in his squad for the crucial two-legged semi-final, although with Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino ahead of him in the pecking order the best he can expect in Spain is a place on the bench.

With Divock Origi out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage Benteke's return at least boosts Klopp's options up front.

Liverpool's other injured striker Danny Ings, who has been out since October with a cruciate knee-ligament injury, is edging closer to rejoining first-team training but is unlikely to feature this season.

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Stats: Proof that Jurgen Klopp has improved Liverpool

The league table may not give too much away but these stats from Oulala suggest Jurgen Klopp's impact at Liverpool has been greater than many people give him credit for.

Liverpool are a different team under Jurgen Klopp. Credit: Oulala

The Reds were 10th when Klopp took over back in October 2015 and currently sit 7th in the Premier League table.

They may have jumped up three places in that time, but the gap to fourth spot has actually widened since Klopp's arrival, with Liverpool now nine points adrift having trailed Leicester by just three in October.

Liverpool have seen considerable improvement since the turn of 2016, however, when Klopp started to get his message across having worked with the players for over two months.

Compared with the four months leading up to 2016, Liverpool now average a goal every 38 minutes as opposed to one every 78 minutes. The team's shot conversion rate has doubled from 7% to 14%, and their shot accuracy has also improved slightly from 45% to 52%.

Will we see further improvements from Liverpool next season? Where will they finish under Klopp in 2016/17? Let us know @ITVFootball

Liverpool v Everton starting line-ups

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