'He's ready. He's fit, he's trained' - Klopp's positive Firmino update
Klopp insists trusted No 9 is ‘ready’ for Champions League final after groin injury but is remaining coy on whether Brazilian will play from start in Madrid
Jurgen Flopp faces a dilemma over striker Roberto Firmino as the Liverpool striker pushes to start the Champions League final in Madrid tonight (8.0) following his injury lay-off.
The Brazilian has been declared fit to face Tottenham Hotspur, but his training sessions have been tailored since the end of the season and precautions were taken at the club's Spanish training camp last week.
He rejoined his team-mates for a full session at Melwood on Thursday and Klopp's latest medical bulletin was positive without seeking to confirm Firmino's starting place.
"He's ready. He's fit, he's trained, he's here and if nothing happened from the moment he left the plane until now, he'll be fine," said Klopp.
"If he will start - if 'Poch' afterwards says his exact line-up then call me and I will tell you our line-up as well. If not, then I thought I'd keep at least a few question marks open."
Liverpool trained in Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano last night and will also hold a session at Real's Bernabeu this morning, by which stage Klopp will know if Firmino should take his place in the line-up or on the bench.
Divock Origi could deputise, as he did so successfully against Barcelona, but it would be a serious setback if Klopp cannot start with his trusted front three.
Firmino has not started since Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Cardiff on April 21. He suffered the groin problem in training, and although he played the final 11 minutes of the semi-final first-leg defeat in Barcelona, what had been described initially as "not a big problem" was evidently more serious.
He was also a notable absentee when Liverpool organised a 60-minute practice session last weekend, so Klopp must weigh up how match-ready his No 9 is - the same consideration facing Mauricio Pochettino with Harry Kane.
Klopp shrugged off last season's loss to Real Madrid in Kiev as the "starting point" for a more streetwise side.
“My feeling was we go again, we come back here (to the final). This year we knew it was possible and that was an experience which helped us to make this special thing happen.”
Klopp’s opposite number Mauricio Pochettino described the “most painful situation” of picking his final starting line-up last night as he revealed he would make an 11th-hour decision on whether Harry Kane will spearhead his attack.
The Tottenham Hotspur manager vowed to take every last minute to decide his final tactics for the biggest game in the club’s history.
Harry Winks and Jan Vertonghen have both declared themselves fit, but it is the potential comeback of his star striker, who returns after almost two months on the sidelines with an ankle injury, that represents his biggest quandary.
“It is so painful when this type of game arrives and you can only use from the beginning 11 players,” he told a press conference before his squad’s final training session at the Wanda Metropolitano last night. “That is the most painful situation.”
Regarding whether to start Kane or leave him on the bench, Pochettino said he would watch the final training session at the stadium and wait until he knew “every single detail”.
“It’s not going to be easy to take a decision tomorrow, but it was difficult the last game that we played, the semi-finals, the quarter-finals, the last 16. It’s so painful but it’s part of my job to pick the starting 11 and win the game. That is most important.”
Instead of just the starting XI, the entire 23-man squad will appear on the pitch for pre-match photographs after Uefa accepted Pochettino’s request for special dispensation.
The manager said he wanted the world to see Tottenham “show togetherness”.
“Show one value: that football is a collective sport,” he added.