Roberto Firmino named on Liverpool bench for Barcelona clash after failing to fully recover from muscle injury
- Roberto Firmino was given every chance to prove his fitness for Liverpool
- He has been battling back from minor muscle injury but ran out of time
- Reds will have to make do without Brazilian forward for Barcelona clash
Roberto Firmino failed in his race against time to recover fully for Liverpool’s clash with Barcelona.
The Brazilian has been named among the substitutes for the Reds with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah the only out-and-out attacking players to start at the Nou Camp.
Firmino has been a key part of the three-pronged offensive group this season but has been battling a minor muscle injury.
Roberto Firmino has been forced to settle for a place among the substitutes in Barcelona
But the 27-year-old has not been rushed into the fold in one of the toughest tests for Jurgen Klopp’s side this campaign.
The Liverpool boss told BT Sport: ‘That’s how it is with the short periods between the games – you cannot be sure.
‘Bobby wants to [play] and the medical department told me ‘yes, it’s good’ but then you have to make sure – I’m not sure if 90 minutes or whatever.
‘So he doesn’t have to start, that’s why we start like we start. Bobby is on the bench, that’s good news.’
Fabinho (left) and Georginio Wijnaldum both start but Firmino missed out on a full 90 minutes
LIVERPOOL TEAM VS BARCELONA:
Starting XI: Alisson, Gomez, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah
Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Firmino, Henderson, Shaqiri, Origi, Alexander-Arnold
The muscle tear kept Firmino out of Liverpool’s win over Huddersfield and his rehabilitation work has just come up short.
Naby Keita is expected to play on the left side of the front three and Joe Gomez has been selected at right-back, his first start since coming back from a leg break against Burnley last December.
Fabinho, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum are in midfield and club captain Jordan Henderson is on the bench with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Klopp added: ‘The boys are all in good shape. [But] Hendo played five games in a row, for example, and we play on Saturday and Tuesday.
‘Millie didn’t play for two games so it was clear we had to use him. Fabinho didn’t play for two games so it was clear we had to use him. Naby didn’t have that many games during the whole season, Gini didn’t play all the games.’
Joe Gomez starts at right back and Trent Alexander-Arnold has been named on the bench