Over the past two years, Roberto Firmino has established himself as key to Liverpool’s attack. He may not lead the scoring tables, but there’s a case to be made that he’s the most important player to how the team play.
The concerns, then, when he picked up an injury towards the end of the year, were well founded. The good news is that with Liverpool preparing for the Champions League final in Marbella, Firmino is back training with his teammates.
“Bobby looks really good,” Jürgen Klopp said, updating the status of his false nine. “He is now part of training. It was not too long out, but of course we are still careful and want to make sure nothing happens.
“We have a few days still and want to use them. Today he was in around about 70 per cent of the session. Tomorrow he will probably be in completely, we will see, then hopefully it will be fine.”
With ten days to go before Liverpool take on Tottenham in the final in Madrid, there’s plenty of time left for Firmino to get back up to speed, and Liverpool are continuing to explore the possibility of holding a closed-doors friendly on the weekend.
If a suitable opponent can’t be secured, it is expected that Liverpool’s U23s will be drafted in, though with a three week gap between the end of the league season and the final an external opponent would be preferred.
In other injury news, Naby Keïta remains a doubt for the final but he is beginning to take part in some training sessions with the team—and Klopp says that if he is 100% fit over the summer he would like to see him at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We don’t want to keep a player out if he can play,” Klopp said. “It is not like this. For me, it would be good if Naby would be 100% fit and could play the Africa Cup of Nations, to be honest. But we don’t know, we will see.
We need to work together with their medical department because in the end, a player who is fit should play for his country. If he is not 100 per cent fit, he cannot play. That’s how it is. That’s what we try to make sure.”