Liverpool’s squad are pushing themselves to their physical limits as their Premier League title bid reaches its conclusion.
Captain Jordan Henderson required a half-time pain-killing injection to make it through the 90 minutes of their famous 4-0 Champions League win over Barcelona, and while left-back Andy Robertson was forced off at the interval he too has already returned to training.
“The famous three words of this week in the dressing room is ‘It’s only pain’. Very important for all the young lads to learn,” said manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of what could be a historic weekend if results go their way.
“Hendo said ‘It’s only pain’, Robbo said ‘It’s only pain’ but it was real pain. Wow! Robbo could deal with the pain but he could not activate the muscle.
“They should be fine.”
Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah is also set to return for Sunday’s match at home to Wolves after recovering from concussion sustained at Newcastle last weekend, although fellow forward Roberto Firmino is targeting the Champions League final on June 1 for his return from a groin problem.
Klopp added: “Mo looked good around the celebrations, and yesterday and the day before he was running outside. Today he will join in training. Bobby? Not for the weekend. But we have enough time (for the final).”
Liverpool have to win on Sunday and hope Brighton take points off Manchester City if they are to pip Pep Guardiola’s side to the title, thereby ending a wait stretching back to 1990.
It is likely to be the last time Anfield sees Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno, who are out of contract next month.
“I don’t know, we will see. Both are out of contract? It’s possible, but we will see,” said Klopp.
“Nothing to say on that, now is not the time for these things. The only important thing is that the players know and we know. Not the rest of the world.”
That the issue of those, albeit fringe, players’ futures has barely registered in the final months of the season is due down to the brilliant season Liverpool are having on the pitch.
Having secured back-to-back Champions League final appearances they have pushed City all the way in the title race.
Even if they do not succeed on Sunday a win will probably see them finish second with the third-highest points tally in Premier League history, beaten only by City’s century last season and 98 in this campaign if, as expected, they overcome Brighton.
But having witnessed the remarkable comeback against Barcelona, having trailed 3-0 from the first leg, Klopp is still holding out for one more magic moment.
“It was a week of miracles, of big football moments, and from our point of view if there could be a big football moment on the weekend, that would be nice,” he said.
“The week is not over yet. Sunday still counts, so we still go for it. Nothing changed, we knew it before.
“I think most people expected me to sit here today and say ‘OK, after not being in the CL final, it’s difficult to be champions’. Well now we are in the CL final, and it is still difficult.
“But the only thing we can do is win the game. In this situation, it looks like Wolves and Brighton are only there, that City will win and we will win.”
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