Jurgen Klopp on returning stars, Benteke's form and not knowing Tiago Ilori was a Liverpool player

Paisley Gateway

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp addressed the media ahead of his side's trip to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken of the importance of having three attacking players back in the squad after spells on the sidelines through injury.

Klopp welcomed back Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi to the side during the midweek FA Cup defeat to West Ham United.

He said the trio are in a good way and played a full part in training but stressed he needed to manage their playing time as they build themselves back up to full fitness.

He told reporters at his pre-match press conference, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, he was first asked about Sturridge: “We need to think about how he can manage minutes but he made a big step in the last week and I’ve made no final decisions about line-up. Until now, everything is like it should be.”

On Coutinho and Origi: “Having Coutinho and Origi back is very important. We have to manage their minutes. Some players have played lot of games, maybe too much. Now they are back, bring them all together and see how far they can go."

Christian Benteke played the entire 120 minutes in East London on Tuesday night and spurned several opportunities as his search to find form continues but Klopp saw some positives in the performance that he was either creating or on the end of chances ahead of the Belgian's return to Villa Park.

"It isn’t the easiest period of his career but it would be a bigger problem if he wasn’t getting the chances. 

"I talked to him a few times, gave him some advice as a coach and human being, and he’s tried to come back to an easy moment."

One man who picked up an injury in the FA Cup defeat to West Ham is Brad Smith, who appeared to be holding his hamstring in extra time but managed to carry on. Steven Caulker missed the game due to a back injury but is back in training, while Martin Skrtel is also back on the training field. Dejan Lovren remains sidelined for this game but could return for the trip to Augsburg on Thursday.

Joe Allen, however, is suffering from a shoulder problem and could be 'out for a while', according to Klopp.

Younger players managed to impress the Liverpool manager, but Klopp made the admission that he didn't know one of the players at his disposal was actually a Liverpool player.

He said: “I didn’t know Ilori was a Liverpool player, to be honest, but then I saw he was on loan and we got him here and you see the potential."

He seemed to have a message for the younger players as whole, as well: They gave one sign but it’s just one sign and we need consistency. They have to accept the situation, see it as a positive they have made the next step, train and train, and be more available more often.”

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