Heading into Liverpool’s match against Chelsea, Liverpool fans were wondering which attacker would be sat. Would it be Philippe Coutinho, who started on the bench against Leicester City, or would it be Daniel Sturridge, who played and impressed but who might be judged less suitable for facing the Blues.
Nobody would have imagined it would have been either of Sadio Mané or Roberto Firmino who missed out. Yet in the end, Firmino is the one who doesn’t play. Not due to rest or a tactical choice, though. He’s not playing due to a minor groin strain. The decision was left late, but in the end, he was judged not fit enough to take part.
It’s worrying for Liverpool, and it removes one of the key players in Jürgen Klopp’s high pressing system. If there’s any good news in it, it’s that Firmino’s injury wasn’t considered serious enough to rule him out ahead of time, and he travelled with the squad as their was hope that he would be able to take part.
That would seem to point to his exclusion being at least in part preventative, and while he may also be rested for the mid-week cup tie in that case, he could be ready to play again in the league next weekend when Liverpool take on Hull City.
And in the meantime, it speaks to the club’s newfound attacking depth that in his absence, it is Philippe Coutinho who is walking back into the starting eleven.