Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed his squad of 23 players who will make the trip to Barcelona including some who will face late fitness tests ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Striker Roberto Firmino headlines the potential doubtful starters in the group. He was absent from Liverpool’s 5-0 hammering of Huddersfield
due to a slight muscle strain but has made the trip to Catalonia.
Firmino’s fellow Brazilian Fabinho could also be set to make his return to action after he was named in the squad as well.
Of Firmino’s inclusion in his squad for the trip to Spain, Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “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.
“Of course, that’s what you have to do in a situation when it’s a race for one player, you have to prepare all the other things. That’s what we did. We had not too many sessions but we had this afternoon a very important one and tomorrow morning a little one.
“Then we should be prepared for the game. It’s all good. We have 23 with us to Barcelona, so enough choices for me to make. That’s what I will do.”
Klopp is confident that Fabinho will be ready to be thrust into the fray against La Liga Champions-elect 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.
“It’s so important [to have a break]. This is now the most intense period of a long, long season because we now have three games in six days and we need to think about different things. Of course, with the opponents we have it’s difficult. But the boys are all in good shape so we will use as many as possible,” Klopp said.
Klopp was more tentative about possibly deploying Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from the start after his encouraging appearance of the bench over the weekend.
“It’s good. To have him around again is cool. He reacted well but it’s small steps for him.
“The first small step – which was very nice and important – was against Huddersfield so we will see what the next one is for him. [There has been no negative reaction], he trained completely normally.”
Liverpool face Barcelona from 21:00 SAST on Wednesday 1 May.
Liverpool Champions League squad for Barcelona: Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Alisson, Henderson, Sturridge, Moreno, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Shaqiri, Brewster, Robertson, Origi, Matip, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold.