Sakho aiming to return in six weeks

French defender Mamadou Sakho is confident that he will be back in the Liverpool fold again in approximately six weeks.

However, while Sakho is optimistic about his comeback, there are concerns that the defender may have suffered a serious knee ligament injury after he fell awkwardly during Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on November 8. 

But, the 25-year-old has played down the severity of his injury and revealed that he is raring to step on the pitch once again. 

"I'm very happy because I think it's good news. Everyone thought I had a big injury for a long time," Sakho told Liverpool's official website.

"But, thank God, I think it will be between four and six weeks. We will see the evolution. Now I feel much better, I work and I hope I will come back as soon as possible."

Sakho is no stranger to injuries, having sustained them throughout the early parts of his career at Paris Saint-Germain and after joining the Reds in 2013.

As a result, the Frenchman knows what he needs to do to get back to full fitness and also vowed to try and play to the best of his ability upon making his comeback. 

 "For me, it's not difficult. I take my injury like that because I can change nothing. I know which way I have to go, which road I have to take," he added.

"I have the objective to come back as soon as possible, as strong as possible. When I come back I will try to give my best like before."

Dortmund announce Dubai trip

Borussia Dortmund will hold a training camp in Dubai during the winter break in an effort to expand their "internationalisation strategy".

Dortmund broke the news on Thursday and revealed that Thomas Tuchel's squad will spend 10 days in the coastal city during January, having journeyed to Spain in previous years.

The Bundesliga club will train at the NAS Sports Complex from January 7 to 16 as part of their preparations for the second half of the season.

BVB sporting director Michael Zorc told the club's official website: "After several years of spending parts of January in Spain, we also wanted to provide new stimuli for the team."

Commenting on the trip to the United Arab Emirates, the Bundesliga club added: "In spite of lucrative offers, BVB rejected several requests for friendlies from countries in which the human rights situation does not align with Borussia Dortmund's standards or an open discussion about human rights is not possible."

Enrique keen to bolster Barca

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique is "in favour of improving" his squad in January as he looks to maintain their challenge domestically and in Europe.

The Blaugrana currently lead La Liga by four points after they comprehensively beat arch-rivals Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu last weekend.

Enrique's side are also coasting in Champions League Group E, having opened up an eight-point gap to second-placed Roma following a 6-1 thrashing of the Italians in midweek.

There have been suggestions in the Spanish media that Barca may have peaked too early in the season, with injuries in key areas having led to certain players being overtaxed.

But Enrique will have two more players available in the New Year in Arturo Vidal and Arda Turan, while he is also open to new acquisitions during the January transfer window.

Asked in his press conference whether he was concerned that the Catalans had peaked too soon, Enrique said: "I am not afraid of that, not at all.

"We are getting players back fit now, and will have some more [Vidal and Arda] in January. When the window comes we will see what the situation is.

"I am also in favour of strengthening and improving the team. The idea is to be ready for when the trophies are won at the end of the season."

New injury setback for Haidara

Newcastle left-back Massadio Haidara is facing another spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury in training this week.

The 22-year-old had only just returned from a groin problem picked up at the start of this month, while he was ruled out for four weeks earlier this season with another knee concern.

Haidara is now scheduled to undergo surgery in France next week after damaging his knee ligaments in a training-ground "accident" earlier in the week.

Magpies boss Steve McClaren confirmed the blow on Friday, saying: "Massadio had an accident in midweek. It's his knee, and he's having an operation in France next week."

McClaren is already without injury victims Tim Krul, Steven Taylor, Gabriel Obertan and Cheick Tiote as he attempts to steer the 17th-placed Toon further away from the relegation zone.

Norwich v Arsenal

Premier League newcomers Norwich will be wary of a backlash when they welcome Arsenal to Carrow Road on Sunday in the late kick-off.

The Canaries are in desperate need of a positive result, having won just one game in their last eight league encounters.

That poor run of form has seen Alex Neil's side drop to 16th in the standings, just three points clear of the relegation zone after picking up only three wins this season.

The fourth-placed Gunners will be determined to get their title charge back on track following a surprise 2-1 defeat to West Brom last time out.

Arsene Wenger's team were held to a 1-1 draw by north London rivals Tottenham prior to that loss, which halted a run of five successive wins.

In team news, the hosts welcome back captain Russell Martin after he missed the clash with the Blues for personal reasons.

Forward Kyle Lafferty also returns to contention, having recovered from a groin problem, but Alex Tettey (groin) and Matt Jarvis (knee) remain unavailable for selection.

Wenger is expected to include Alexis Sanchez in his starting line-up, despite the Chile forward nursing a tight hamstring.

Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are back in the fold after shaking off their respective hamstring injuries.

But Jack Wilshere (leg), Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott (both calf), Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky (all knee) all miss out once again.

Liverpool v Swansea

Liverpool will be seeking back-to-back wins in the Premier League for only the second time this season when Swansea visit Anfield on Sunday.

The Merseysiders last won successive league games at the start of the campaign when they beat Stoke and Bournemouth by 1-0 scorelines.

Jurgen Klopp's side will be in buoyant mood after their comprehensive 4-1 victory over Manchester City last time out, which saw them bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace before the international break.

The ninth-placed Reds are six points better off than the Swans, who occupy 14th spot after failing to win their last three matches.

The south Wales outfit halted a two-game losing streak with their 2-2 draw against Bournemouth last weekend, but manager Garry Monk is under increasing pressure after his team claimed just one win in their last eight encounters.

In team news, Klopp will give Philippe Coutinho every chance to prove his fitness prior to kick-off. The Brazilian playmaker is struggling with a hamstring injury he sustained against City.

Daniel Sturridge is also considered doubtful with a foot problem he picked up this week, but Lucas Leiva is definitely unavailable as he serves a suspension.

Monk only has one problem to contend with as Jonjo Shelvey misses the trip to his former stomping ground through suspension.

Midfielder Shelvey serves a one-game ban after receiving his fifth booking of the season against the Cherries.

West Ham v West Brom

West Ham will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they welcome West Brom to the Boleyn Ground on Sunday.

Slaven Bilic's side recently saw an impressive seven-game unbeaten run come to an end before the international break with a 2-0 defeat at Watford.

The Hammers then played out to a 1-1 draw with Everton before they lost 4-1 to Tottenham, which saw the east Londoners drop out of the top-four to sit in sixth place.

Albion, meanwhile, halted back-to-back losses against Leicester and Manchester United with a shock 2-1 win over Arsenal last time out.

The 12th-placed Baggies will be eyeing more consistency in the league, having won four of their last eight matches but losing the other four.

In team news, the hosts will be without captain Mark Noble, who is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Spurs.

Pedro Obiang and Alex Song are vying to fill the void in midfield, with the duo having recovered from their respective injuries.

However, Dimitri Payet (ankle), Enner Valencia (foot) and Darren Randolph (knee) remain unavailable for selection.

Chris Brunt serves a one-match suspension for the visitors after collecting his fifth caution of the season against the Gunners.

But Gareth McAuley returns to the fold after he was banned for the visit of Arsene Wenger's side last weekend.

Tottenham v Chelsea

Tottenham will be looking for more of the same when they welcome Chelsea to White Hart Lane on Sunday in a London derby.

Mauricio Pochettino's side equalled a club record when they beat neighbours West Ham 4-1 last weekend, extending their unbeaten run in the Premiership to 12 games since losing to Manchester United on the opening day.

That impressive run of form has taken Spurs up to fifth place in the standings, just two points adrift of arch-rivals Arsenal, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

The Blues, meanwhile, halted a worrying three-match losing streak with their 1-0 victory over Norwich last time out - just their fourth win of the top-flight campaign.

But the defending league champions are still a mammoth 14 points off the pace set by Leicester at the summit, with Jose Mourinho's men languishing down in 15th position.

In team news, the hosts are forced to do without Dele Alli through suspension after the midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against the Hammers.

Alli joins Erik Lamela (groin), Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard (all ankle) on the sidelines, but Pochettino can recall Kyle Walker, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose after the trio were rested for Thursday's Europa League clash Qarabag in Azerbaijan.

John Terry (ankle) and Ramires (muscular) are injury doubts for the visitors. Defender Terry was forced off in the Champions League victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday, while midfielder Ramires slipped during training prior to the match in Israel, which saw him miss out.

Cesc Fabregas is expected to return from a toe problem, but Radamel Falcao and Thibaut Courtois are not quite ready to return yet.

Leicester City v Manchester United

Leicester City will be looking to continue their good run of form when they welcome Manchester United to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The Foxes are unbeaten in their last six Premier League outings, while they have lost just one game all season.

As such, they currently lead the standings, sitting just one point clear of their weekend opposition, who are second.

At the heart of their form has been striker Jamie Vardy, who last weekend equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League record of scoring in 10 successive matches.

The England international, though, has a slight hip problem, but is expected to feature against United as he looks to break that record.

Matty James is Leicester's only injury absentee and has yet to feature this season due to his long-term knee injury.

The Red Devils are also in good form, having lost just two of their last 10 games in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last five encounters.

Despite their good run, some supporters have been upset with United's performances of late, but Louis van Gaal insists he is satisfied with what he's seen from his side.

Phil Jones (ankle) and Ander Herrera (hamstring) are both ruled out of action this week, while Michael Carrick is also unlikely to feature.

Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia remain long-term absentees with their respective injuries.

Crystal Palace v Newcastle

Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace will be targeting a return to winning ways when stragglers Newcastle United visit Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Eagles made a flying start to the season but have slowly dropped down the league ladder in recent weeks following a string of disappointing results.

Following a surprise 1-0 defeat to Sunderland last time out, Palace sit comfortably in mid-table, seven points shy of the Champions League places.

Newcastle, meanwhile, appeared to have turned the corner before slumping to a 3-0 defeat at home to Leicester City, a result which leaves them teetering on the edge of the dreaded drop zone.

In team news, Palace will be minus the services of hamstring injury victim Bakary Sako.

Striker Maroaune Chamakh is available for selection after recovering from injury, but may have to be content with a place on the bench if Pardew elects to keep faith with Connor Wickham up front.

The Magpies are sweating over the fitness of Cheick Tiote, who is nursing a groin problem that could rule him out of contention this weekend. If Tiote does not pass a late fitness test, he will join Jack Colback on the sidelines.

Yoan Gouffran, Florian Thauvin and Siem de Jong are pushing for starts, along with out-of-favour striker Papiss Cisse.