London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is sure Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk will be fit to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final despite going off in Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea.
Both will be left out of Klopp’s squad for Tuesday’s visit to Southampton as a precaution despite the Reds still being in the running for the Premier League title.
Asked if either could play at St Mary’s, Klopp said: “No. They are both OK, so the target for both would be they could be involved again at the weekend.
“It’s very positive, no doubt about the final and we’re realistic about the Wolves game (on Sunday), but for tomorrow, (we’d) rather not.”
Klopp’s men were given fresh hope they could pip Manchester City to the title when Pep Guardiola’s team dropped two points in a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday.
Defending champions City, with one game remaining, are four points clear at the top of the table with a significantly better goal difference than their rivals, who have two games left.
Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final at the weekend to complete the second leg of a potential quadruple.
Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who missed the cup final with a muscle injury, is not yet ready to return, but Scotland defender Andy Robertson should be available after suffering cramp on Saturday.
“What I can promise and definitely say is we will line up a team only for one reason — to try to win the game at Southampton, as difficult as it is, because that obviously is the job to do,” added Klopp.
– City slip-up? –
However, the Liverpool boss is not confident that City will drop point against Aston Villa on Sunday to give his side a shot at the title.
“I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow,” said Klopp. “Is it a chance, a big chance? I wouldn’t say so because I don’t know when City dropped points the last time two games in a row historically.
“So Aston Villa has to play in midweek when they are not used to that. As much as I’m sure they’re all professionals and these kind of things, they want to go at City, but City is a pretty good football team. So, I don’t expect City to drop points there.”
Klopp said the FA Cup win, which followed Liverpool’s League Cup triumph earlier this season, took the pressure off the club in the final weeks of the season.
“If we play a season like we play and win the Carabao (League) Cup and fight until the end for the league title, that’s, for me, a really good season,” he said.
“It feels much better that we won already two (trophies), to be honest.
“If we would have lost the final, the negative scenario that we will not become champions and in a few weeks you are all not shy of reminding me that it all depends on one game if it’s a success or not and these kind of things.”
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