Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp sweating over the fitness of strikers Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota
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Sadio Mane will present his inner Cristiano Ronaldo at Wembley this weekend, with Liverpool striker set to lead the line at Wembley.
Aside from the intriguing battle on the pitch, there’s also the meeting of the heart as Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel try to overcome their opposing numbers.
Klopp may be forced to switch to Chelsea after news emerges Roberto Firmino ‘was very unlikely to come out in the decisive game.
The Brazilian forward has been out of action since scoring in a 2-0 win over Inter Milan last week, where he scored his crucial first goal.
Firmino suffered muscle problems at the San Siro, then missed the Premier League wins over Norwich and Leeds.
Diogo Jota was also left out of two all-round wins, leaving Liverpool with 10 goals conceded.
In both of those games, Senegal’s Cup of Nations hero Mane was used at the heart of their much-vaunted attack.
Klopp has suggested that Firmino and Jota are both racing against time to be fit, meaning that if they pass the fitness test late, they could be off the bench.
“They are [pushing]but they weren’t on the field for practice, so that’s not a good sign,” Klopp explained Monday.
“We have to see what we can do with the boys in the next few days, then we make a decision at the end of the week.”
That means there’s a good chance Mane will return to his new role, something that left his manager stunned after the two-goal game against Leeds.
“Sadio’s game was one of his best,” said Klopp. “The way he interprets his role, away from the opponent, opens the door for us. It’s absolutely insane.”
Mane has told his boss he’s happy to move to the frontline with that flexibility set to become hugely useful after the arrival of Luis Diaz added competition to the squads. position.
“I can play in any striker position,” Mane said earlier this month.
The Senegal international has been used centrally before, with his Liverpool teammates giving him a short leash.
Back in 2019, he revealed: “Before the game, the coach called me and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to make some changes. Sadio, you have to play number nine’. I said “Oh!”, and I looked at my teammates.… I laughed and said, ‘We’re a team, so you have to believe in me!’.
“They were all laughing at me, but I said, ‘From today, call me Ronaldo or Firmino!’ Gini [Wijnaldum] said: ‘You have to score. If you score, we will call you Ronaldo. If not, you’re an asshole! ‘”.
With 13 goals in all competitions, Mane is only 2 goals behind Manchester United trump card, if he can level that score he will be a dressing room hero, likely to celebrate another silverware that will return to Merseyside.
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