Conor Bradley takes major step towards Liverpool return in training boost

Liverpool right-back Conor Bradley took a major step in his rehabilitation from a long-term back injury as he joined first-team training on Wednesday.

Bradley has not been involved in any capacity since the 4-4 friendly draw with Greuther Furth at the start of pre-season.

The Northern Ireland suffered a stress fracture in his back, and subsequently missed the remainder of the warmup schedule plus the first 16 games of the campaign.

But after three months out, Bradley returned to light training in October, before joining his team-mates for a session on Wednesday afternoon.

He took part in ball work in front of the cameras at the AXA Training Centre, as Jurgen Klopp‘s squad prepared for the trip to Toulouse in the Europa League.

However, the 20-year-old is unlikely to be involved against the Ligue 1 side on Thursday night, with Klopp and his staff cautious in his reintroduction.

“He is getting really close,” assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders said last week.

“He is with the ball, he is doing all these things with [head of recovery and performance Andreas] Schlumberger and that looks promising.

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It will be great to have him back because we know that he can be a really attacking threat on our right side.”

Bradley was expected to serve as deputy to first-choice right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold this term, following a breakout loan spell at Bolton last season.

But in his absence, Klopp has turned to Joe Gomez – and, once, Curtis Jones – with the No. 2 impressing as he adapts to the hybrid role.

With Liverpool progressing to the quarter-finals of the League Cup and potentially qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League as soon as Thursday night, there could be opportunities for Bradley coming up.

The Reds are not without absentees, however, with Ryan Gravenberch the latest out along with Curtis Jones, Andy Robertson, Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic.