Firmino fighting to be fit

LONDON • Roberto Firmino is battling to be fit for Liverpool's crucial showdown with West Ham United tomorrow, as Jurgen Klopp considers whether to hand Daniel Sturridge his first start in the Premier League since Jan 2.

Firmino has a muscle problem which has restricted his training this week and his absence would amount to a major setback for Liverpool, whose Champions League hopes are back in the balance following a run of three games without a win at Anfield.

Liverpool have little margin for error as they seek to cling on to a top-four place, as Arsenal can move to within a point if they beat Stoke today.

"We are struggling a little bit with Roberto again and Lucas Leiva this week," said Klopp yesterday. "We have to wait and see what they can do there.

"For a few weeks we have had to manage Roberto's intensity in training. He feels another muscle a little bit.

"Roberto is a real mentality player, he wants always to be involved and we need to make decisions for him."

The situation opens the door for Sturridge, who has not played 90 minutes in the Premier League since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in May last year.

"(He is) ready. That is good," said Klopp. "Last week, the starting line-up did their job and then you could bring on a fresh Daniel Sturridge.

"Now the situation is different again. It's another week we've had him training and so far so good, so hopefully we have a few options."

THE TIMES, LONDON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'Firmino fighting to be fit'. Print Edition | Subscribe