LIVERPOOL, Feb 23 — Liverpool could be handed a major boost ahead of the League Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday, with Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai all in contention to play after injury problems.

All three sat out Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Luton as Liverpool moved four points clear at the top of the table despite missing nine first-team players.

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota will not be available for the match at Wembley as Liverpool aim to win the first of a potential quadruple of trophies in Jurgen Klopp’s final season.

“Dom, Darwin and Mo we have to really see. We have two more days, today’s session and tomorrow’s session and last minute we will check if they can be there,” Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders told Friday’s pre-match press conference.


Liverpool hammered Chelsea 4-1 in the Premier League less than a month ago but Lijnders is wary of the Blues, due to the improvements they have made since then.

Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League table after a difficult start to Mauricio Pochettino’s reign but did Liverpool a favour in the title race by holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw last week.

Lijnders believes the Argentine is beginning to find the right balance from a squad full of young talent that has cost more than £1 billion (RM6.06 billion) in transfer fees over the past two years.


“We will need our full toolbox,” said Lijnders. “Chelsea, I think the instability that happened in the beginning of the season, a lot happened there — a lot.

“So how can you expect them to perform straight away? They are growing, I think their manager is doing an unbelievable job.”

Trophy chasers

Klopp is in line to round off his glorious spell at Anfield in style.

The Reds could match Manchester United’s record of 20 English top-flight league titles and are also into the last 16 of both the FA Cup and Europa League.

Lijnders will leave the club at the end of the season to launch his own managerial career and he is aiming to go out on a high by giving the Liverpool support plenty to cheer.

“We are going to prepare with only one target — giving joy and emotions to the fans. If you want to describe our football philosophy it is to give joy and emotions to the fans.”

Since Klopp broke the bombshell news of his departure a month ago, his team have won five of their six games.

Virgil van Dijk will captain the Reds on Sunday and said focusing on the job in hand rather than what is to come has been key to remaining on track.

“The end of the season will be probably very emotional for a lot of people, including the manager, but we are not there yet,” the defender told the Liverpool website.

“We shouldn’t look too far ahead, we should look at what is in front of us and that’s what we want to do.” — AFP