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Liverpool captain could be fit for Europa League final

Henderson could be fit for the final. Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has handed England a boost by declaring there are no doubts over midfielder Jordan Henderson being fit for Euro 2016.

However, he has set his captain a deadline of May 15 - their last league match at West Brom - to prove his fitness in order to be considered for Liverpool's Europa League final against Sevilla the following Wednesday.

"I don't know exactly but he was really celebrating yesterday after the game," said Klopp, the day after Liverpool beat Villarreal in their European semi-final.

"I saw in his eyes he thinks he has a chance (of being fit for the final), so that's the first and most important step in the right direction.

"To play in the final on the Wednesday after the season, I think the latest moment - after a long break - when you should be available is the Sunday before.

"But Hendo is in a really good way so it's good for England. There's no doubt about being fit for the European Championship.

"The same with Divock Origi but we will see. I have no idea, to be honest."


Liverpool striker 'cost as much as Villarreal turnover'

Benteke cost £32.5m. Credit: PA

Villarreal manager Marcelino tried to ramp up the pressure on Liverpool by claiming striker Christian Benteke cost as much as the Spanish club's turnover last season.

The Reds' second-most expensive ever signing is only likely to be on the bench for Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg but that did not stop the Yellow Submarine boss using him to attack his opponents.

"Liverpool as a club have an extraordinary squad of footballers when you consider Benteke cost 50million euros (about £39.5million - he actually cost £32.5m), which equates to the whole turnover of Villarreal as a club," he said.

"We come here full of hope, we are going to give everything we have got and we will enjoy ourselves.

"Our main aim is to be competitive. We feel we have the capabilities we can make it through to the final

"This group of players needs to be proud of what they have achieved as we are already qualified for the Champions League.

"This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it.

"We will suffer at moments in the game, we will find it tough but we can cause them trouble.

"The game will be decided by the team who are more assured at key moments in the game."

Liverpool midfielder Can returns for Villarreal clash

Klopp will be delighted he has Can to select earlier than anticipated. Credit: PA

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can returns to the squad ahead of schedule to face Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final second leg at Anfield on Thursday.

The Germany international was initially ruled out for four weeks with ankle ligament damage mid-April but has recovered sooner than expected.

Manager Jurgen Klopp also has to decide whether to start up front with Daniel Sturridge or stick with Roberto Firmino, as he did in Spain last week.

The Reds are one-nil down from the first leg in Spain.

Liverpool striker Origi could play before end of season

Origi had been in scintillating form. Credit: PA

Liverpool forward Divock Origi has not given up hope of returning from an ankle injury before the end of the season.

The 21-year-old Belgian was forced off during the second half of the 4-0 win over Everton at Anfield on April 20, having earlier scored what was his fifth goal in five appearances.

Origi is confident his rehabilitation is progressing well, and can see himself back in action ahead of the end of the campaign.

"It's progressing well. It's been 10 days now, so I try and improve every day and make steps, we just try and [ensure that] I'm back as quick as possible," Origi said on the club's official website,

"For example, yesterday and today I feel a big difference, with these injuries it can evolve everyday and we put in a lot of work.

"I come into (training) very early and I leave in the evening, so we (work) a lot of hours, but I think that's necessary because I want to come back as soon as possible."

Origi has not given up on playing again for the Reds this season. He added: "Of course, I believe in it.

"My goal is to come back as soon as possible and I just want to go back on the pitch. I think it's possible, but you never know."


Klopp optimistic about future

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool's future is in safe hands despite his youngsters suffering a painful lesson at Swansea.

Klopp named the youngest starting line-up in Liverpool's Premier League history as he took the opportunity to rest key personnel ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella made his league debut and there were also starts for fellow teenager Sheyi Ojo, Brad Smith and second-choice goalkeeper Danny Ward, as Klopp sent out a side with an average age of 23 years and 218 days.

But it proved a tough afternoon for Liverpool with the ineffective Chirivella replaced at half-time and Smith sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.

"I can't change my mind every two days like you can (about the strength of the squad)," manager Klopp said after making eight changes from the side which lost 1-0 to Villarreal in Spain last week.

"After Bournemouth, after Stoke, after these games, everybody said 'oh my God, how good are these young players?'

"They are good, but that is how it is - life as a professional football player is not always a honeymoon.

"You have to prove, you have to deliver. It did not work too well, but it is not a problem for the future, it is only a problem for today.

"A result or a game like this would only be completely senseless if you do not use the information for the future - and that's what we will do for sure.

"It's not about the squad or something, it's only about this performance."

Swansea's win inflicted successive defeats on Klopp for the first time in his seven months at Liverpool.

But Klopp insists his side are fine ahead of the Villarreal return at Anfield and a game which could define their season.

"Maybe this performance was influenced by the number of games we have had," he said.

"I'm not too much interested in that because I can't change it, but hopefully we have influence on the number of games we will have in the future.

"Ten days ago we were in brilliant shape and now we are not in bad shape."

Swansea's first win over Liverpool after five straight defeats preserved their top-flight status and ensured a sixth season of Premier League football.

It has been a turbulent campaign for Swansea, with Garry Monk sacked in December and Alan Curtis taking interim charge before Francesco Guidolin was appointed in January.

Guidolin's reign is set to be a short one as Swansea, who are currently in takeover talks with an American consortium, are expected to appoint a new manager this summer.

But midfielder Jack Cork believes the club can kick on, whoever is in charge next season.

"It's nice to get it (safety) mathematically done," said Cork after scoring his second goal in 49 Swansea appearances against Liverpool.

"Considering how tough the season's been it's great to do it with two games left.

"But if you look at our results since January we've been playing really well.

"We've had some good results and if we can maybe add a couple more players to this group then I think we'll be fine.

"Against the bigger teams we've done similar to what we did last year, and maybe one target next season would be to get more points from the teams around us."

Liverpool defender suspended for 30 days

Mamadou Sakho failed a drugs test. Credit: PA

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended for 30 days after Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against him following a doping violation, European football's governing body has announced.

The France failed a drugs test after his side's Europa League clash with Manchester United.

The Liverpool defender decided not to have his B sample tested in relation to the doping violation and has now been provisionally suspended for 30 days by European football's governing body.

Disciplinary proceedings have been instigated against Liverpool FC player Mamadou Sakho, following the Uefa Europa League round of 16 second-leg match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC (1-1), played on March 17.

The proceedings relate to a violation of the Uefa anti-doping regulations, after the player failed a doping test at the above-mentioned match.

The player did not request the analysis of the B sample. Uefa has now suspended the player provisionally for 30 days until a final decision is taken by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body.

The date of the disciplinary hearing will be announced at a later stage.

– Uefa statement

Villarreal boss confident of beating Liverpool

Villarreal manager Marcelino insists his side are more than equal to Europa League favourites Liverpool and hopes the visitors "suffer" at El Madrigal.

The Reds' dramatic win to put out Borussia Dortmund in the last round immediately made Jurgen Klopp's team top of the betting to lift the trophy in Basle next month.

Marcelino believes Villarreal are a match for Liverpool. Credit: PA

But Marcelino believes Villarreal, fourth in La Liga but 20 points behind third-placed Real Madrid, are a match.

"Liverpool might be the favourite - the club, their history and the fact that they knocked out Borussia Dortmund all add up - but we don't consider ourselves to be less than them," he told a press conference ahead of their semi-final first leg.

"We are going to give everything from our side to eliminate this legendary team.

"We don't have any pressure on us. I'm really satisfied with and grateful to this squad for getting to this semi-final.

"We are very hopeful and convinced that we are capable of beating Liverpool, and all the while we'll be enjoying the occasion.

"I felt more pressure in the previous knockout ties. We have the chance to make history at this club now.

"If we manage to enjoy the match and do the things we know how to do I think they're going to suffer a lot at our ground."

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