Liverpool are hopeful that young midfielder Harvey Elliott could return to full training in January.
The 18-year-old looked set for a breakout year in the heart of Liverpool's midfield before suffering a nasty fracture dislocation of his ankle against Leeds United back in September - an injury which required surgery to repair.
No return date has ever been suggested for Elliott, with Liverpool keen to give the youngster as long as he needs to get back to his best, but The Athletic believe that he could be training again in January if all goes well.
It's a big if, with Elliott still needing to get through basic movement drills which could make or break his hopes of an imminent return.
The teenager still needs to master turning, twisting and some basic work with the ball before a return to contact training will even be humoured, and setbacks are by no means a rare occurrence in these situations.
However, there is cautious hope that he could be back in January, when he would be able to focus solely on building up his match fitness.
Should all go according to plan, Liverpool could have Elliott available for the final three months of the season, but no strict schedule is being laid out to avoid putting any pressure on the Englishman.
Liverpool have been impressed with Elliott's focus on recovery, while also praising the teenager for his behaviour away from the pitch. He was keen to avoid criticising Pascal Struijk for the challenge which ultimately injured him, insisting that the Leeds man made a good tackle which just so happened to end horribly.
“I think back to when I broke my leg,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said in an interview. “For the first week or two you’re getting lots of attention and people are saying lots of nice things about you. Then people get on with playing their football and you’re left in the background.
“You’re the one whose leg is in plaster and you can’t go out of the house. Then you’re the one that’s in the treatment room. Psychologically, that will have been tough for Harvey.
“You don’t look at an injury and think, ‘Right, I’m out for this number of months’. It’s more, ‘When am I getting the cast off? When can I get in the gym? When can I get outside again? There are all sorts of little steps to build to and that’s what you have to focus on. The most difficult days are behind him now.”