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Firmino Unavailable, Jota “a Challenge” for Sunday

Liverpool might be without two of the front line for Sunday’s League Cup Final

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Diogo Jota of Liverpool FC in action during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg football match between FC Internazionale and Liverpool FC. Liverpool FC won 2-0 over FC Internazionale.
Diogo Jota of Liverpool FC in action during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg football match between FC Internazionale and Liverpool FC. Liverpool FC won 2-0 over FC Internazionale.
Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Friday Pep Lijnders provided a fitness update for the two questionable players ahead of Sunday’s League Cup Final. According to Lijnders, Roberto Firmino will not feature in the match, while Diogo Jota will continue to be assessed and may be a late decision.

Lijnders had praise for both players’ dedication to returning to full fitness:

“Bobby we have to see in the next two days. He is pushing himself really hard but he will not be available for the final, to reach the squad.

“We hope he will be back really soon because you all see and know and feel how important he is for our way of playing, so I am happy that he is pushing himself. Hopefully he is soon back.

“Jota, so far no reaction on the things he did, so the straight-line running, the changes of direction and the ball work he did, so that’s a good sign. He isn’t ruled out but still it will be a challenge.”

For their part, Chelsea will have everyone bar Ben Chilwell available, with the likes of Reece James set to return from injury. In his own press conference, Thomas Tuchel avoided confirming or denying James’s potential return to the starting lineup, having been absent since December.

‘“t’s a very good question. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could answer your question right now. He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions. Let’s wait another session, and see if I’m crazy enough to put him on the pitch, or if the reasonable side of me wins and we go step by step.

“It would be a huge step, but honestly yesterday and today he looked so strong and confident and involved in training, you are tempted to do it. Let’s see. The most important thing for him and us is that he’s back and he feels so confident he can step up to this level.”

Liverpool look to win the League Cup for the first time since the 2011-12 season; Chelsea last won the competition in 2015.