Matip and Keita hand Liverpool fitness boost ahead of Atalanta test

(Reuters) – Joel Matip and Naby Keita have returned to Liverpool first-team training but manager Juergen Klopp is yet to decide if both will be available for Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Italian side Atalanta.



Joel Matip wearing a football uniform: Premier League - Liverpool v Newcastle United


© Reuters/JASON CAIRNDUFF
Premier League – Liverpool v Newcastle United



a group of baseball players playing a football game: Premier League - Liverpool v Leeds United


© Reuters/PHIL NOBLE
Premier League – Liverpool v Leeds United

Matip is poised to hand Liverpool a timely fitness boost as Klopp hopes to navigate his squad through a central defence injury crisis, with both Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk out of contention.

Van Dijk underwent a successful knee surgery last week after damaging his ligaments against Everton.

Keita is also set to be part of the travelling group to Bergamo for Liverpool’s third match in Champions League Group D, but fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara is yet to return to training.

“Naby and Joel trained yesterday with the team, full, Thiago didn’t. So, that’s the situation,” Klopp told a news conference.

“I have really no idea what I do with this information in the moment because yes, they trained, that’s good, it’s better than if they don’t train. But we have to see what we do with it.

“We have another day to make these decisions. A lot of players will be on the plane hopefully, and so decisions will be made late, late, late.”

Atalanta, renowned for their high-octane pressing style under coach Gian Piero Gasperini, defied expectations last season to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Klopp said Atalanta are Liverpool’s “biggest challenge in Europe so far” and compared the Italian outfit to Premier League’s Leeds United.

“With all Atalanta have done in the last few years, they are a settled team and they are very difficult to play against,” Klopp said.

“They are similar to Leeds in the way they set-up.

“They are a proper fighting unit. They have all our respect and I know how good they are.”

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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More Potential Help for Chronic Hand Eczema

Two different Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, one systemic and the other topical, showed activity in preliminary clinical trials of difficult-to-treat chronic hand eczema.

The oral multitargeted drug gusacitinib reduced the target lesion symptom score (TLSS) by as much as 70% at 16 weeks, and almost a third of patients treated with the higher of two doses achieved Physician Global Assessment (PGA) of 0-1 (clear/nearly clear) at the same time point. Adverse events across the range of doses evaluated were mostly sporadic and mild or moderate in severity, reported Howard Sofen, MD, of Dermatology Research Associates in Los Angeles, during the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Virtual Congress.

“Gusacitinib showed rapid efficacy in moderate to severe chronic hand eczema,” said Sofen. “The 80-mg dose met the primary endpoint of percent reduction in the modified TLSS at week 16. Rapid and significant improvement in PGA 0-1 was observed versus placebo with 80 mg. There was dose-dependent and rapid improvement in pruritus. Gusacitinib was well tolerated, and the safety has been consistent across studies involving more than 350 patients.”

In another study, as many as 37% of patients treated with topical delgocitinib met criteria for Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) of treatment success at 16 weeks. Patients treated with the two highest concentrations had statistically greater improvement at 4 to 6 weeks and maintained the difference to the end of the study, reported Margitta Worm, MD, of Charite Hospital in Berlin.

Multitargeted Oral Drug

Chronic hand eczema is a complex disease that affects about 7 million people in the U.S. The disease has a multifactorial etiology and pathogenesis that includes genetics, atopy, contact allergens, and irritating substances, said Sofen. Gusacitinib inhibits JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, TYK2, and SYK to target TH1 and TH2 pathways, TH17 and TH22 pathways, and SYK-mediated interleukin-17 signaling in keratinocytes.

Sofen reported findings from the first part of a phase IIb trial involving 105 patients with chronic hand eczema. The patients were randomized to placebo or one of two doses of gusacitinib. Randomized treatment continued for 16 weeks, at which point placebo-treated patients could switch to the higher dose of gusacitinib for continued treatment. The primary endpoint was percent change in the modified TLSS.

The study population had a mean baseline mTLSS of 13 and a mean baseline hand eczema severity index (HECSI) score of 63; 39% of the patients had a baseline PGA score of 3.

The 16-week results showed that patients allocated to the higher dose (80 mg) of gusacitinib had a 69.5% reduction in mTLSS, as compared with 49% of patients in the 40-mg group, and 33.5% of those assigned to placebo. Both gusacitinib groups had significantly greater improvement in mTLSS compared with placebo by week 2 (P<0.005), and patients in the higher-dose arm maintained that difference to 16 weeks.

The proportion of patients who achieved PGA 0-1 status by week 16 was 31.3% in the gusacitinib 80-mg arm, 21.25% in the 40-mg arm, and 6.3% in the placebo group. Significantly more patients in both

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Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier hand Tottenham a big fitness boost as they return to training

Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier hand Tottenham a big fitness boost as they return to training ahead of the Europa League clash with Antwerp

  • Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier have returned to Tottenham training 
  • Both players missed the win at Burnley on Monday with minor injuries 
  • Jose Mourinho’s side play Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday

Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier are set to return for Tottenham’s Europa League clash with Antwerp after both players trained on Wednesday. 

The pair missed Monday’s win 1-0 at Burnley with what boss Jose Mourinho called ‘little injuries’, but they have given their manage a huge fitness boost ahead of Thursday’s game.

Bergwijn missed the 6-1 victory over Manchester United before the international break but returned for the 3-3 draw with West Ham last week, only to pick up a slight knock.

Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham's Europa League clash with Antwerp

Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham’s Europa League clash with Antwerp

Bergwijn and Serge Aurier (above) returned to training on Wednesday after small injuries

Bergwijn and Serge Aurier (above) returned to training on Wednesday after small injuries

Aurier started both games at right back after he was given the nod ahead of Matt Doherty, who was favoured in the opening three league matches.

But the Irishman returned to keep a clean sheet at Turf Moor in Aurier’s absence and could retain his place in the starting XI.  

Japhet Tanganga was the only absentee from training with the defender still battling a thigh problem.

Antwerp are arguably the toughest opponents Jose Mourinho's side will face in their group

Antwerp are arguably the toughest opponents Jose Mourinho’s side will face in their group

Spurs won their opening Europa League group game against LASK last week with an own goal and strikes from Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min ensuring a 3-0 victory.

Mourinho opted to rest captain Harry Kane for the game and could be tempted to start summer signing Carlos Vinicius once again with his side facing Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.

However, Antwerp have made a strong start to the Belgian season and are arguably Tottenham’s toughest opponents in Group J. They currently sit top of their domestic table with six wins in 10 games.

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