Liverpool's Joel Matip ready to return to action after injury layoff for the first time since March

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Matip has been out of action since March with an injury.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip is set for his first appearance since March this weekend as he joins pre-season preparations looking to earn a place in Jurgen Klopp‘s starting line-up.

With Dejan Lovren involved in the World Cup final with Croatia there is likely to be a spot up for grabs to start the Premier League campaign alongside Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence.

Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan already have two 45-minute friendly appearances under their belts so Matip is playing catch-up as he is a week behind in training after recovering from a thigh injury which prematurely ended his season.

“If the manager decides (I can play) I would be happy. I think I am ready,” he told liverpoolfc.com ahead of Saturday’s friendly at Bury.

“Of course I am in full training but I think to get the real full fitness everybody needs a bit longer, me especially after a long injury, but we are all on a good way and me as well.

“You need this time on the pitch to be ready… I’m looking forward to these pre-season games, to get fit and get back to a good level.”

Matip returned to Melwood ahead of his team-mates to complete his recovery programme in an attempt to give him the best chance of being prepared for the start of the campaign.

Matip's season ended with a thigh injury in March.

Matip’s season ended with a thigh injury in March.

“I spent a lot of time over the summer here in Liverpool to be ready and to get fit,” added the 26-year-old.

“Every football player wants to be fit, but especially after a season with a few injuries you want this more.

“It’s a long way to go (until the first match of the season at home to West Ham) but I try to work on my own fitness and to be ready.

“You need sometimes the ball to get this feeling back, to know how you move again, to get self-confidence in your own movements.

“This needs some time, but I’m still looking forward to the new steps like playing friendly games. I am quite positive.”

Matip trained with his team-mates at Melwood today but strikers Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum were not present.

Press Association Sport understands they were undertaking bespoke individual sessions, which is common during pre-season work.

Ings sat out Tuesday’s friendly at Tranmere with severe blisters and may not feature at Gigg Lane as Klopp could decide it is preferable for him to do a double session at Melwood because he has missed some training this week.

Van Dijk, however, is set for his first appearance of pre-season while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will return to training next Friday after their World Cup involvement.

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West Ham pair of Andy Carroll and Winston Reid ruled out of action for up to three months

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West Ham have been dealt a big blow ahead of the Premier League season.

West Ham pair Andy Carroll and Winston Reid both face three months out injured, the Premier League club have announced.

Former England striker Carroll and New Zealand defender Reid have returned home early from a pre-season training camp in Switzerland to undergo follow-up operations on injuries suffered last season.

Richard Collinge, head of the club’s medical department, told whufc.com: “Andy played and scored in Sunday’s match (against FC Winterthur) but is still reporting some discomfort in his ankle and further scans have revealed that he requires some minor surgery to provide more strength and stability to the area.

“Winston has been suffering some swelling around the knee injury that he sustained at Swansea last season and he too is in need of explorative surgery to clean up the area.

Carroll complained of discomfort in his ankle.

Carroll complained of discomfort in his ankle.

“We have decided that this is the best course of action to ensure that both players have a chance of returning to full fitness as soon as possible.”

Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini added: “We are obviously very sad to hear that Andy and Winston have suffered setbacks. This is a big blow for them and us but we hope to see them back in action as soon as possible.

“It does mean that we have lost two senior players in key areas, though, and we’ll continue to work hard with the owners to make further additions to strengthen the playing squad, beyond the five new signings already confirmed.”

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Unai Emery says Arsenal's transfer business is complete as pre-season begins

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Unai Emery has had a busy summer after taking charge of Arsenal.

Unai Emery has suggested Arsenal‘s transfer dealings for the summer are complete as he prepares for his first season in charge at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have been busy in recruiting the players identified by Emery, as well as head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.

France Under-20 international Matteo Guendouzi is the latest acquisition following moves for Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira.

While the club continue to be linked with a new winger, Emery believes Arsenal’s transfer business may already be concluded

“Normally, in my career the big clubs don’t close the (door) or the moment to sign a new player,” he said.

“Today, we are okay. Maybe we can bring in one if there’s a very good possibility for them to help us, but the club has done a great job of signing new players and I am happy.

“We signed the players who we needed and only if one player is a big opportunity for us will we sign them. We will only sign a player in the next month if he’s a big opportunity.”

Emery also revealed he intends on naming a quintet of captains, with current skipper Laurent Koscielny set to keep the armband even though he is set to miss the start of the season with an Achilles injury.

Who will lead the Gunners on the pitch is just one of many questions Emery faced as he met the media at the club’s training ground on Thursday afternoon.

Emery, 46, was appointed as head coach following Arsene Wenger’s departure at the end of last season and – while he admits he needs to get to know his players better – he wants to have a host of players ready to step in as captain.

“We’ve spoken about that,” he said.

“My idea is to know every player and to know, also, the personality of the players. And then, I think my first idea is to have five captains in the team. But at the moment, I don’t know the names.

“I need to know more and also, firstly, Koscielny is the first captain now and for me, I have respect for that. Then, we are looking at, looking for, who are the players whose personality is the best in the dressing room.

“We want to keep the respect for these players and to find the captain and choose very well the best player for that.

“The first two weeks for us is to start knowing the club, knowing the players, knowing all the people who are working with us.”

Emery won the domestic treble at Paris Saint-Germain last season and believes he does not feel he needs to pick the brains of Wenger to find out more about his squad.

“Each coach needs to know the players,” he added.

“Not all the coaches have the same relationship with a player and I have my personality. I want to know with my direct opinion, with my direct conversations with the player.

“I have information on the players for the club, from the people around me. The information with Arsene is also important for me but the best is my direct relationship and conversations with the players.”

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