Firmino looks to be winning fitness race ahead of Barcelona showdown
Roberto Firmino appears to be winning his fight to be fit for the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
The Brazil forward, who missed last Friday’s Premier League victory over Huddersfield with a small muscle tear, was included in Jurgen Klopp’s 23-man squad to travel to the Nou Camp for Wednesday’s first leg.
Firmino featured in training as the Reds allowed media cameras into their Melwood complex for their final preparations before flying to Spain on Tuesday afternoon.
A great sight for Liverpool – Firmino training ahead of Barcelona game #LFCpic.twitter.com/8msFIZ9WUq— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) April 30, 2019
Manager Klopp told the club’s website, www.liverpoolfc.com: “We all knew from the beginning it would be a race.
“We don’t have to make a decision today because there’s no game today, we can wait. It looked good so far, but I have until tomorrow to make that decision.”
Midfielder Fabinho has been passed fit after he was forced to miss the 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield following a blow to the head in the previous game against Cardiff.
Klopp said: “Every human being needs time and he needed that time, but if the Huddersfield game had been a day later he could have played.”
Rumours that forward Mohamed Salah had suffered an injury scare proved wide of the mark as the Egyptian played a full part in Tuesday’s session. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who returned last week after a year-long lay-off with a knee injury, was also involved.
Adam Lallana, who has been sidelined with a muscle problem, did not participate and was not included in the travelling squad.
Merseyside 🛫 Barcelona #UCLpic.twitter.com/Vn7Ymh6MNI— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 30, 2019
That group did include 19-year-old forward Rhian Brewster, who is building up his fitness after more than a year on the sidelines with knee and ankle injuries.
The England Under-17 World Cup-winner is not expected to feature on matchday, but the experience may benefit him ahead of his expected elevation to the first-team squad on a full-time basis next season.
Klopp said: “He is the next really exciting prospect. Next season will be his season, his first real season.
“He is with us, he is our player and we want to have him around. In this case I thought, ‘Come on, it’s Barcelona, let’s give him a first sniff’.”
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