By David Lynch, Merseyside Correspondent

6th Apr, 2023 | 5:10pm

Sources: Liverpool right-back close to comeback after injury nightmare

Liverpool prospect Isaac Mabaya is closing in on a comeback after a six-month injury nightmare, sources have told Football Insider.

The 18-year-old has been sidelined since October after injuring his ankle during a victory over Rangers in the UEFA Youth League group stages.

However, he has recently stepped up his rehabilitation by resuming running outside at the club’s Kirkby training base.

And Football Insider understands that it is hoped that could put him in line for a return to action with the U21s before the end of the season.

Mabaya‘s injury blow was particularly poorly timed given he had been enjoying increased contact with the first team at the start of the campaign.

The teenager joined the senior squad during pre-season and impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to be namechecked in an interview with LFCTV.

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“The young kids, the self-confidence they have at that young age, I think that’s a really good sign for the team as well,” the German said.

“How the team let these boys grow next to them. Seventeen years old, Isaac [Mabaya], a little mic check [in the initiation night]! I couldn’t deal with that.”

The defender also earned friendly runouts against Manchester United, RB Salzburg and Strasbourg, which he had hoped to add to in the months ahead.

He said: “Honestly, I loved it. I always love stepping out on the pitch for Liverpool, so I just want to keep getting my opportunities to do that [and] hopefully [I will] in the future.

“It’s been brilliant playing and training with some of the best players in the world. There’s a lot to learn from all the players.”

Calvin Ramsay’s injury issues this season may have provided an opportunity for further first-team involvement for Mabaya, who signed a first professional deal in September 2021.

However, he is now likely to have to wait until next term to battle for the right to be Trent Alexander-Arnold’s understudy at right-back.

In other news, the real reason for Harvey Elliott absence against Chelsea is revealed.