Roberto Firmino is in contention to start the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg when Liverpool meet Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Liverpool will hope to take home some sort of advantage when they lock horns with Barcelona at Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. And, Jurgen Klopp does not have any major concern bothering him ahead of the crunch fixture.
There are no issues whatsoever in goal, with Alisson Becker set to start between the sticks once again. In front of him, the defensive line pretty much picks itself as well. The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Andew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should retain their places in the side.
At the heart of the Liverpool defence, Joel Matip is expected to come in for Dejan Lovren, partnering van Dijk. Up ahead in midfield, the slight shuffles in the side will start coming into effect, with Klopp having one eye on the tricky Premier League fixture against Newcastle United this weekend.
To that end, Naby Keita will likely be placed among the substitutes, with James Milner giving him company. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to action against Huddersfield, but is unlikely to be handed a start just yet.
Keita should be replaced by Fabinho, who will reprise the Anchor Man role in front of the defence. Klopp was asked about the Brazilian during his pre-match press conference, and he confirmed that the player is fit and available to face Barcelona.
“He was not available. Every human being needs time and he needed that time, but it was already three or four days ago; if the Huddersfield game would have been a day later he could have played, but it was just impossible for that game. But it’s OK.”
Joining Fabinho in the middle of the park, will be Georginio Wijnaldum, who will be deployed in an advanced role after playing as the holding midfielder in the last two games, and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
Meanwhile, the major concern heading into the game surrounded the availability of Roberto Firmino, who missed out last Friday due to a minor muscular injury. But, the Brazilian forward trained with the squad before they travelled to Barcelona, with Klopp hinting that there are high chances he will start, although he will be subjected to a late fitness test.
“Yes, of course [it’s a huge boost]. We all knew from the beginning it would be a race. We don’t have to make a decision today because there’s no game today, we can wait. It looked good so far but until tomorrow I have to make that decision – after lunchtime tomorrow. That’s what I will do.”
Firmino is likely to return to the starting lineup against Barcelona. But, if he is unable to prove his fitness, Divock Origi is expected to give Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane company in attack, following an underwhelming performance by Daniel Sturridge last time out.