Roberto Firmino missed Liverpool training on Friday afternoon, just 48 hours before Liverpool take on Manchester City at the Etihad.
The Reds are looking to achieve a famous win against their Premier League title rivals on Sunday afternoon. Pep Guardiola’s side are currently one-point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s team at the top of the table, with no other title contenders in sight.
Firmino was not spotted at Liverpool’s AXA Training Centre at Kirkby on Friday afternoon, although Klopp is still hoping to have a full-strength squad at his disposal for the big game. Many are billing it as this season’s defining fixture.
“”When I looked last time on my smartphone, it looked like everyone is available again,”” said Klopp on Friday afternoon. The German’s only other injury concern is Fabinho, who suffered a nasty clash of heads in Liverpool’s most recent game against Benfica.
“”There’s a little cut,”” added Klopp. “”He’s fine, that’s how it looks. He had a cut on the back of his head and, obviously, there is no hair that could hold the blood back. That’s why they needed a bit of time, but he should be completely fine [to play City].””
Guardiola is also expected to have a strong squad at his disposal, with Ruben Dias (hamstring) the only major absentee. “”Everyone is fit,”” said the Spaniard in his pre-match press conference. “”[But] not Ruben.”” Dias is expected to return later this month.
Firmino is an important cog in Klopp’s Liverpool machine, playing 320 games for the club since arriving from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015. His record in front of goal isn’t prolific – scoring 96 times – yet his link-up play is invaluable to the team.
Even if Firmino is unavailable, Klopp will still have another four top-class forwards to choose from. Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah have all enjoyed impressive spells this season – but many are calling for the latter to be dropped.
Salah has scored just five Premier League goals in 2022 amid rumours about his Liverpool future. The Egyptian has just 14 months left on his existing deal. His most recent display against Benfica on Wednesday evening was well below his usual high standards.
“”Big game experience helps, definitely,”” said Klopp when asked whether Salah will play. “”It is not the only important thing you consider when you make a line-up but it’s one of these.””
Salah has a good record against City, scoring seven goals in 12 outings for Liverpool – with five of those goals coming in the Premier League. Despite this, Reds icon John Aldridge believes Klopp should drop the world-class forward on Sunday afternoon.
“”If you’re going by form, Mo wouldn’t get in the team,”” Aldridge told Sky Sports News. “”As good as he is, as great as he is, as much as we love him, on present form he’s struggling. People might say he’s had his head turned but his contract situation doesn’t help. He hasn’t scored from open play for six weeks and he’s just not himself on the pitch.””