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Emre Can Not Fit to Face Chelsea on Friday

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Though defender Dejan Lovren is ready to face the Blues, midfielder Emre Can isn’t fit enough to start.

Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Second Leg Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho missed out on a start against Leicester City in large part because of his international break exertions, having flown back late from a humid stint with the Brazilian national team. That won’t be an issue for him against Chelsea on Friday, making for something of a selection headache for Jürgen Klopp.

However, for better or worse, it’s likely to be his only major selection headache, as early reports that Emre Can would be in line to start against the Blues were batted back by the Liverpool manager at his pre-match press conference today. Can may have a role to play on Friday, but short on match fitness, a start isn’t likely.

“The players that played in the last game are ready, plus Dejan,” was Klopp’s response when asked about squad fitness ahead of Friday’s important league match that could determine second in the league table. When it comes to Can, though, it’s too soon for him to start—especially against a quality side like Chelsea

“Emre [Can] is not injured any more but he needs to train,” Klopp explained. “He had a difficult pre-season and came back late. He had a little injury here, problem there. He’s a wonderful player, but now we have to make him fit. We have to do what with him, like with Mama.”

That means a midfield of Jordan Henderson behind Adam Lallana and Gini Wijnaldum a near certainty against Chelsea. It still leaves the question of who starts in attack, though, and Klopp wasn’t giving any hints, pointing out how important Daniel Sturridge had been to their last victory when asked if he could be dropped.

“Daniel was involved in three or four of the goals [against Leicester],” noted the Liverpool manager. “Being flexible, it’s the key for all games.”