Good news and bad news for Chelsea and Chelsea’s opponents tomorrow night, as Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino successfully pushed his court date back 24 hours, making him available to train and play for Tuesday night’s showdown at Anfield. Firmino was due in Magistrates’ Court to answer charges for drink-driving. Although Klopp has concerns over exhausting Firmino, the striker will no doubt start against Chelsea.
However, fellow forward Sadio Mané was delayed on his way home from the Africa Cup of Nations, and thus may only start on the bench, if he’s involved at all. Mané has been gone basically all month and in his absence, the only team Liverpool have been able to beat were League Two Plymouth Argyle, and that only on the second try.
Mané missed his penalty in the shootout against Cameroon in Senegal’s quarterfinal defeat at the Africa Cup of Nations, but even though Liverpool sent a private jet, the travel back home did not go smoothly.
“I don’t know exactly. The club did an outstanding job to bring him back as soon as possible and he is now on his way. We thought it would be possible yesterday: we had a plane there but he was not allowed to go in the plane so we had to wait.”
“He will be here tonight but I spoke to him and it is all good so far. He will be in tomorrow morning and we have to make a decision. We have to look in his eyes and see whatever is possible.”
-Jürgen Klopp; source: Guardian
Liverpool have lost a nigh-unprecedented three home games in a row, and not exactly stellar opposition either. Klopp opted to play a strong lineup on Saturday against Wolves in an effort to stem the tide and yet they still lost to the mid-table Championship outfit 2-1.
Despite those results, this won’t be easy by any means for Chelsea, especially if Mané is available. Liverpool will not have any trouble being “up” for this game, and Conte’s right to be wary of a “very angry” home side.