Klopp reflects as Liverpool miss out on title
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Liverpool’s medical staff have belief that Thiago Alcantara can be fit to play in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, according to reports. But it has already been confirmed that Divock Origi will be unavailable.
The Reds are sweating on Thiago’s fitness after the Spaniard had to be hauled off against Wolves on Sunday. He sustained an Achilles injury just before half-time but the Mirror say Liverpool’s medical staff are hopeful he can make the squad this weekend.
Thiago has already missed a cup final this season having been forced out of the Carabao Cup starting eleven due to a problem sustained in the warm-up. He was later shown in tears on the bench. But Liverpool are optimistic he can make the match-day squad against Real Madrid as they seek to win a seventh European Cup.
Thiago has avoided serious injury after undergoing hospital scans but he will need to respond well to treatment this week. The report adds Liverpool’s staff believe it will be a day-by-day process given the inflammation around his ankle. It is unclear how many training sessions the two-time Champions League-winning midfielder will manage, with Klopp generally preferring his players to have at least two days’ worth of training before playing a match.
But it’s added that a place on the bench looks possible as it stands, though he will not be joined by Origi. The Belgian has picked up a muscle injury that will deny him a final appearance before his contract expires. The AC Milan-bound striker scored the killer second goal in the 2019 final against Tottenham in Madrid but Klopp has confirmed he will play no part in France.
He said: “Div is definitely out for the final because he [got] injured in the last second of the last session yesterday. He got a muscle injury, so five days will not be enough for him.” Though Origi is out, talismanic centre-back Virgil van Dijk is fit to feature. He was an unused substitute in the final day defeat of Wolves at Anfield on Sunday. Fabinho is also expected to be involved.
The Brazilian has been sidelined since the win at Aston Villa earlier this month with a hamstring problem but is expected back in full training ahead of the final. His return will be a massively welcome boost given Thiago appears unlikely to start.
Captain Jordan Henderson will start alongside Fabinho if Thiago is only fit enough for a spot on the bench. But in the third position Klopp must decide whether to pick the technical quality of Keita or the experience of James Milner.
The German also has big calls to make in defence – where he must pick between Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip – and in attack. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are certain starters with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino vying for the final spot in the forward line.
David Alaba meanwhile rejoined the Real Madrid squad in training on Monday after a month out injured, with it anticipated the Austrian will return to start in central defence. Gareth Bale, who scored the decisive goals in Kyiv when Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 in 2018, may miss out through injury.
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