Thursday 27 June 2019

Liverpool's Naby Keita set to miss Champions League final with thigh injury

A thigh injury could rule Naby Keita out of the Champions League final (Peter Byrne/PA)
A thigh injury could rule Naby Keita out of the Champions League final (Peter Byrne/PA)

Carl Markham

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita's recovery from a thigh problem is ahead of schedule but he is unlikely to be fit enough to feature in the Champions League final.

The Guinea international could, however, be back in time for the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts on June 21.

Keita tore an adductor muscle in the 3-0 semi-final first leg defeat in Barcelona and the initial prognosis was a two-month absence.

But having responded well to treatment the midfielder, who is out in Marbella with the rest of the squad preparing for the June 1 clash with Tottenham in Madrid, has now returned to running.

"Naby is, I would say, a bit ahead of schedule, but that doesn't mean anything for the final," manager Jurgen Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

"He is now doing straight runs and all of that stuff, he feels comfortable with 50 per cent intensity and these things - but there is still a way to go.

"I know about the issues with Guinea and stuff like that; we don't want to keep a player out if he can play - maybe they think it is like this, but it is not like this.

"For me, it would be good if Naby would be 100 per cent fit and could play the Africa Cup of Nations, to be honest.

"But we don't know, we will see, and we need to work together with their medical department because in the end, a player who is fit - from my point of view - who can play, should play for his country.

"If he is not 100 per cent fit, he cannot play. That's how it is. It looks good, very positive and we will see if there is a chance."

Forward Roberto Firmino is on course to play in the final after recovering from a thigh problem he aggravated in the Nou Camp.

"Bobby looks really good. It was not too long out, but of course we are still careful and want to make sure nothing happens," added Klopp.

"We have a few days still and want to use them, that's why he is in, out, in, out."

According to Klopp, Firmino was involved in "70 per cent" of the session yesterday and is set to play a full part today.

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