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Naby Keita and the Liverpool players desperate to give Jurgen Klopp major headache

The clock continues to tick down on the return of the Premier League. And, with it, opportunity will surely knock for a number of Liverpool players.

Having not played in the top flight for three months, the Reds will be back in action when they are away to Everton on June 21.

It’s the start of a hectic run of games in which Jurgen Klopp’s side will finish the campaign with nine games in 37 days.

The busy schedule will offer chances to a number of fringe players and youngsters, not least with a temporary increase to five permitted substitutions from nine players on the bench.

Openings could also arise if Liverpool swiftly earn the six points required to win their first title since 1990.

And there are three members of the Liverpool squad who have a particular point to prove over the coming weeks.

Joel Matip

This time last year was the pinnacle for the Cameroon defender.

Injuries had allowed Matip to win back his place at the start of 2019 and he was arguably Liverpool’s best defender for the second half of the season.

He started the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur and laid on the clinching second goal for Divock Origi.

However, there were warning signs at the start of this campaign when Matip was benched for the Community Shield – coming on to score against Manchester City – and the Premier League opener with Norwich City.

The centre-back started seven of the next eight Premier League games but was then sidelined by a knee injury after the draw at Manchester United on October 29.

Since his return to fitness in mid-January, Matip has played for one minute in the top flight and 79 in a very rusty FA Cup outing at Shrewsbury Town.

Joe Gomez is first choice alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence once more and will take some shifting. Matip will hope for a chance.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip

Naby Keita

It seems a question mark has hung heavy over the entirety of Naby Keita’s Anfield career.

While nobody doubts his raw ability, the Guinea midfielder remains as puzzling as ever almost two years after making his delayed move to Liverpool.

Injuries have been the problem this season, particularly the timing of them.

An injured hip saw him miss most of the early stages and, having impressed in December and during the FIFA Club World Cup, Keita was struck down with a groin issue, and was then grappling with another complaint when the season was suspended back on March 13.

Feedback from Melwood is that Keita is now thankfully free of injury and looking sharp.

With Klopp still retaining faith in the midfielder, the closing weeks could offer a belated time to shine.

Divock Origi

You wonder what Origi made of the recent speculation surrounding Chelsea-bound Timo Werner and Liverpool.

The Belgian, the hero of the latter stages of the Champions League last season, had been rewarded with a new contract last summer.

And having scored and assisted in the Premier League opener against Norwich, he appeared ready to kick on.

It hasn’t quite happened, though.

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Origi has been involved in every Premier League and Champions League squad this season bar two in September when nursing an ankle problem.

However, in his 28 appearances in those competitions, only six have been as a starter. He failed to come off the bench in seven of them.

In all competitions, Origi has managed just five goals and four assists, casting doubt over his ability as a consistent backup to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

He will be hoping to suggest otherwise and underline why Liverpool stepping back from a pursuit of Werner may not be that costly.

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