This is it. 90 minutes stand between Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool returning to their rightful place in a European semifinal (presumably) alongside fellow heavyweights Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Yet, and despite holding a commanding 3-0 lead going into Tuesday’s second leg quarterfinal decider against Manchester City, the Merseysiders aren’t quite there, with the squad clearly ailing, as key players such Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Joël Matip are all varying forms of doubtful for the run-in.
In the immediate 10-hours-45-minutes-from-now near term however, Liverpool fans will be glad to hear that the most disconcerting injury worry can be put to bed with one Mohamed Salah expected to be available for selection.
After spearheading a 30-minute first half evisceration of City with a goal and an assist a week ago, the Egyptian had levered 55,000 hearts into their mouths when he hobbled down the tunnel with a groin issue late in the period.
Speculation about the 38-goal-forward’s ability to go again in the return leg only continued to grow when he then missed the 0-0 dead rubber to Everton at the weekend, although the manager was always expected to preserve his talisman for the more important match in the Champions League. Whether the Red’s No. 11 was absent against their crosstown rivals due to injury or caution is now moot as the Citizens will thankfully now be forced to contend with the most in-form player on the continent once again.
City will be expected throw the kitchen sink at their opponents with their European hopes on the line meaning that having the lightning quick Salah as an outlet on the break will be an essential part of Klopp’s gameplan to nick an away goal or two and make the host’s job all the more difficult.
The German will also have Alberto Moreno to call on as defensive reinforcement with the left back also returning to training after missing the Everton clash following a knock sustained in the warm up. Ben Woodburn was also spotted and will be hoping to make the bench for his European bow.
That being said, enough with the rumours, theories and suppositions. On to the Etihad to take back our perch. Up the Reds.