With Roberto Firmino having sat out against Chelsea with a minor groin strain, the safe money would seem to be on him being rested against Derby County even if he’s fit. With a league game against Hull City in just four days, that would seem the most likely option.
At his pre-match press conference today, though, manager Jürgen Klopp insisted that Firmino was an option to play in the EFL Cup on Tuesday after he returned to training with the first team this morning. It may still be that he’s likely to be rested, but he will be available.
“Roberto is in training,” said Klopp when asked about the attacker’s status. “We checked him yesterday and again today. I was told he could play against Chelsea, but I heard the word risk too often, so I said no. They said give him three days and then everything will be perfect.”
Ahead of the Chelsea match, Klopp insisted Firmino’s absence was largely preventative—that the manager believed it better to have Firmino miss one game for certain than potentially miss a month or more of action if he wasn’t 100% capable of playing against Chelsea.
Regardless of whether he faces Derby County tomorrow, then, it’s good to learn this was indeed the case, and that Firmino’s injury was always only the minor strain it was described as. And regardless of whether he faces Derby, Klopp plans on fielding a strong side.
“We only have strong lineups, so you can be sure we will field a strong one again,” Klopp added, pointing out the goal is to get back to playing two games most weeks. “If a player has an issue, of course we wouldn’t risk him, but it’s not about resting 100% fit players.
“It’s a normal rhythm. It’s a rhythm we want to have again next season with games every three or four days. We know how to handle it. We know about recovery. It can always be a risk, but never with player who aren’t 100% fit.”