Team News | Liverpool
Watch Javi Gracia's press conference above - free to view, no sign-up required.
Javi Gracia said he is delighted that his defensive options have been increased with the news that Craig Cathcart is now fit enough to be considered for selection.
The Northern Ireland international has been out of action since the home game with Brighton because of a knee injury. He was the 19th man for the FA Cup game against Bristol City, but then he picked up a problem with his hip.
He returned to full training two weeks ago and has now been cleared to play. The former Manchester United defender is now vying with Miguel Britos for the reserve centre-half slot on the bench or he could come into contention should Gracia switch to three at the back.
“Craig is now fully training,” said the Head Coach. “He wasn't an option because he wasn't in the best condition, but he is improving day by day in training with the team. He is now an option.”
Gracia has been boosted recently by the return from injury of Kiko Femenía, Miguel Britos, Will Hughes and now Cathcart in a sign that the team's injury problems are gradually being resolved.
“I am always very pleased when these players recover after a process of injury,” said Gracia. “They are able to help the team. I am happy for them first of all and I am happy because I have more options to choose.”
Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Christian Kabasele, Gerard Deulofeu, Younès Kaboul and Molla Wagué remain sidelined.
“This week nobody new was training with the team,” said Gracia. “We need to wait more time for injured players. The rest are in a process of recovery.”
Heurelho Gomes also comes back into contention after missing the game against Arsenal.
“Heurelho had personal permission last week after the West Brom match and he didn't train with the team,” explained the Head Coach. “He did his first training with the team on Friday and I trained with Daniel [Bachmann] and Orestis [Karnezis] all week. And then on Saturday, when I prepare the list, I choose these options because I thought it was the best option for the team.
“He knew the reasons why he was out of the team because I explained to him. He came back on Friday and then the next day I have to do the list. It's clear to me to choose the players training all the week. There is no other reason.”