Nerves ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with West Ham at the London Stadium were somewhat multiplied when it was announced that Roberto Firmino had been ruled out through injury.
Though it was a shame not to see the Brazilian in action, his absence didn’t appear to matter as an outstanding Liverpool attacking display, primarily orchestrated by Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, drove the Reds to a 4-0 win.
A victory against Middlesbrough at Anfield on the final day will see the Reds qualify for next season’s Champions League. It remains to be seen, though, whether or not Firmino will be able to play a part with manager Jurgen Klopp unsure of when he will return.
“Not a real idea, but it’s a bigger chance than for this game today,” the Reds boss told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We tried a little bit on Friday, only with a little running. [But] he still felt the muscle, so [there was] no chance.”
“He struggled a little bit in the last few weeks with different parts of his body. We always had to manage the intensity with him, did it and then in the game he actually didn’t really feel it. Then after the [Southampton] game, he said ‘Yes, now I feel something’ and that was too much for training last week.”
“But [he has] another week and being an option would be cool for us.”
Liverpool’s performance against West Ham could inspire Klopp to keep his faith in the same starting line-up in his team’s decisive final game of the season, even if Firmino is fit.
Opting to do so with the forward available to play would, however, give Klopp a great option from the bench and another potential match winner at his disposal. That said, the German will be hoping he won’t need to turn to his substitutes.
Firmino has been a prominent starter this season and it could be up to his teammates to see the challenge through without him. Something that they are more than capable of, judging by their most recent outing.