Liverpool to check on Lucas, Firmino fitness; Sturridge and Lallana fit
LIVERPOOL -- Liverpool will have to check on the fitness of Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva ahead of Sunday's crucial match at West Ham United, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.
The Brazilian duo are dealing with muscle problems and have been unable to train at Melwood this past week. However, there is a boost for Liverpool as Klopp says Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana are both now fit enough to start matches after returning from injury.
"We spoke about Roberto. Since a few weeks [ago] we have to manage the intensity in training," Klopp told a news conference on Friday morning. "It's a little bit another muscle which he feels. Everybody can imagine, Roberto is a real mentality player, so he wants always [to play]. We need to make the decisions for him sometimes.
"We left him out of training. It's a muscle thing. We have to wait and give him as much time as possible. Lucas, after the game, [felt the same]. I asked both a lot of times, 'OK? OK?' and everybody said 'Yes, yes'. After the game they felt it.
"After the game, Lucas felt two different muscles and we said: 'OK, we have to wait also'. Lucas could be back in training today, we have to see. Roberto, tomorrow if possible. Then we make the decisions."
Sturridge has not started a match for Liverpool since late January, but has appeared as a second-half substitute in four of the Reds' last five games.
Meanwhile, after returning from a thigh injury that kept him sidelined for around a month, Lallana managed 74 minutes against Watford before playing the final 21 minutes of Sunday's goalless draw with Southampton.
When asked whether Sturridge could start at the London Stadium, Klopp replied: "How he looked yesterday, ready. That's good. I was really happy about having the opportunity to [have] the starting line up and then you can bring a fresh Daniel Sturridge on.
"After Watford, when Adam came in early, he felt the 70 minutes really. We had to manage the intensity through the week. After coming from injury, if you could immediately play 90 minutes that would be perfect. But, unfortunately in football, the real match is too intense that you can work that hard in training.
"He trained only twice before this game [against Southampton last weekend]. He was an option, but actually not for starting. Now he is in another situation, so that means we have two more options, if nothing else happens. I've said it a few times, as long as we have 11, we will fight."
Liverpool are sitting third in the Premier League table ahead of the trip to the capital, with Champions League qualification in their own hands.
The Liverpool manager concedes that playing in Europe's premier competition next season does help recruit better players in the transfer window.
"It probably has influence, that's how it is," Klopp said. "The players we are talking to, that's how it is, because they are all good players and I know they have offers from other clubs and maybe they play Champions League or not.
"It's important for the club. Everybody knows it's a lot of money for the Champions League, it's not only the sports challenge which is really exciting, it's the money you can earn. As a football club, of course, we have to do this too. That's the situation."
Klopp added: "Should I go the players in the dressing room and say: 'Boys, the better you play, the better the players are which take your places next year?' That makes absolutely no sense.
"We all know the situation and the players want to qualify and play in this fantastic tournament, as I want.
"All the talks we've had are very positive so far, but that doesn't mean that all will work out. We have to give everything and then have to see if we could convince the player or not."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.