Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Jose Enrique is closing in on a return to full training at Melwood –- and the boss is hopeful of having the fullback available for selection in the not too distant future.
A knee complaint has meant the Spaniard has not figured for the Reds since the UEFA Europa League tie against Young Boys on September 20, and has featured just twice in the Barclays Premier League.
"He hasn't been [available for selection] in the last couple of weeks," Rodgers told Liverpoolfc.com. "It's unfortunate — he's got a pain in his knee that he was struggling with. We've been trying to treat it conservatively.
"Hopefully within the next week to 10 days he'll be back out on the training field and hopefully there will be no reaction.
"He's a terrific player, Jose, and has got great qualities. We hope we can get him back sooner rather than later."
Meanwhile, Rodgers has explained why Liverpool will aim to use the current international break to their benefit — but insists everyone within the camp is already itching to contest the next game against Reading on Oct. 20.
The majority of Reds players are currently scattered across the globe representing their countries, meaning the boss and his backroom team are working with just a handful of senior players at Melwood.
Nonetheless, Rodgers insists preparations for the Reading clash remain ongoing.
"It is frustrating, especially if you have drawn a game but played well, you want to get back onto the field and get into a match situation," he said.
"But as I've said before, it also gives us a chance to work closer with the players that are left here — and me a chance to have a look at some of the younger players. I've been really impressed by the young players here at the football club and this gives me a chance to get an overview of them at close hand.
"It's been a busy period for us with a lot of games and work, so it will give the players and staff a chance to recuperate — then we'll really look forward to going once again once everyone is back from international duty.
"Off the field, we've been speaking with our scouting team and analytical team in terms of looking at how Reading play and work, so there is a lot of work going on off the field in our preparation for the game."
The latest name to jet off on international duty was Jack Robinson, who earned a call-up to the England U-21 squad on Wednesday morning — news that has pleased Rodgers.
"Young Jack has been doing very well," he reflected. "He's had a lot of exposure to the first team as a young player already, but he's done very well recently and it's good news for him. It's also great news for Liverpool that not only are there so many young players featuring in the team, but they're also getting that recognition at international level, which is always important."
Meanwhile, Rodgers has paid tribute to Joe Allen after the midfielder was named as the Welsh Footballer of the Year for 2012 on Monday.
The manager feels the accolade is just rewards for the progress the No. 24 has made since arriving in the Barclays Premier League with Swansea City in the summer of 2011.
"He's had an outstanding year, Joe, hence the reason he was one of the key players I wanted to bring in here," said Rodgers. "I think the supporters already see what he brings to the team, his bravery and courage with the ball.
"He's a very humble guy and very respectful — he knows there's still a lot of work for him to do.
"It's a wonderful honour with so many talented Welsh players like Gareth Bale, who has been one of the leading players in the world over the last few years, and also above some of the fantastic Swansea City players. It's great recognition for all his work in particular in the last 18 months."
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