Noel Whelan claimed the return of James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri for Liverpool will be a “massive boost” ahead of a busy festive schedule.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds United striker said that the return of Milner, 34, will have a big impact on Jurgen Klopp’s side both on and off the pitch.

The Athletic‘s James Pearce revealed that the club hope to have the midfielders back in full training this week ahead of the visit of West Brom on Sunday.

Milner has not featured since the 1-1 draw at Brighton while Xhaqiri has been absent since the 1-1 draw at Manchester City at the start of November.

Whelan claimed the midfielder return is timely with the Premier League champions suffering a “terrible time with injuries”.

“The games are coming up thick and fast for Liverpool,” he told Football Insider. “Jurgen Klopp needs to utilise his full squad.

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“Milner and Shaqiri are brilliant players, they are internationals.

“They need every bit of help they can get after a terrible time with injuries. The way these games come over the festive period it is important to get a couple of bodies back fit. They need to share the load.

“These are not fringe players, these are quality players. It is just because of the stiff competition at Liverpool that they find themselves often sitting on the bench.

“They both bring creativity and in James Milner they have one of the best players the Premier League has ever seen.

“It will be a massive boost to have him in the squad and in and around the players again. He is fantastic. He is a leader, even though Jordan Henderson is the captain.”

In other news, Virgil van Dijk has been tipped to return for Liverpool six months early after new footage emerges.