Liverpool vice-captain James Milner believes that the returns of defender Joe Gomez and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a major boost

for Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out of action for almost a year now after he sustained a severe injury against Roma last season. Joe Gomez sustained an injury against Burnley in December and has just returned to full fitness.

Both players have recovered and should be on the field very soon.

Milner said, “I think it’s important that we have everyone available. That’s why you need a squad when you have these sorts of injuries and stuff. Ox has obviously been out a long time and was playing fantastically well before he got injured, Joe the same. He’s been brilliant when he’s played this season and formed a great partnership with Virgil.

And all credit to Joel [for] coming and stepping in when he’s had his own injury problems – he stepped in straight away like he’d never been away – and obviously Dejan is coming back and things like that.

So it’s important with the amount of games you’ve got and the intensity of the run-in that we have the squad, and everyone’s going to have a big impact on the end of the season even if they’re not out on the field – just in training keeping that intensity and pushing people for their starting places.

I think the more difficult it is for the manager to pick a team, the better it is for the team to achieve what we want to achieve. I think it’s always difficult when you’re injured and with a long-term injury like Ox has had and Joe has had in the past as well, they have to be so mentally strong.

It’s long hours, tough hours and you’re away from the team at times. When you are around the lads in the gym it’s important that you have that interaction and help where we can and make them feel part of the squad still and lift their spirits. We know how hard it is for them and how hard they’ve worked. Ox coming back, he had a little setback in the game before the international break but he’s back again already. You expect that when you’ve been out that long, but I’m sure he was loving being back out on the field again.

We all know how good he is as a player so to get players like him back and fit and ready to go, it only gives the manager more selection problems and it’s great for us as a squad.”

During the international break, Milner spent the first week in Dubai and is looking forward to Sunday’s match against Spurs. The former England international said, “It’s nice to have that mental break, if you like.Obviously I was still doing running and work out there so on the physical side it’s probably not quite as intense as it would be if you were training, but you’re still ticking over and putting the hard work in.

But I think to get away from the club and get a bit of sun helps and refreshes you for the last few months of the season.”




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