LONDON (REUTERS) - Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has not recovered in time for Sunday's League Cup final against Chelsea but there is a chance Diogo Jota plays a part, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders said on Friday (Feb 25).
Firmino suffered a muscle injury and has not played since Liverpool won at Inter Milan earlier this month. Jota also played only 45 minutes in that game but Lijnders said his ankle was in better shape.
"Bobby, we have to see in the next two days. He is pushing himself really hard but he will not be available for the final, to reach the squad," Lijnders told reporters on Friday (Feb 25).
"We hope he will be back really soon because you all see and know and feel how important he is for our way of playing. So I am happy that he is pushing himself, hopefully he is soon back.
"Jota, so far no reaction on the things he did, the straight-line running, the changes of direction and the ball work he did - so that's a good sign. He isn't ruled out but still it will be a challenge."
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had said goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher deserved to start the final ahead of Alisson Becker and Lijnders said his progress in the team showed the club's youngsters the way forward.
"Kelleher is a really good example, him reaching the final shows that there's an inside path for young goalkeepers at the club," Lijnders said.
"A compliment for the goalkeeping department, that is what I like - that it's possible a young keeper can make the final.
It's nice to see." Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also praised the 23-year-old, describing him as a "very level-headed" player.
"He is learning from probably the best keeper in the world, which will always help him. He has always had that calmness about him, which I really like. It will be a big moment for him," Henderson said.