Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp revealed that forward Roberto Firmino could be in contention to feature at Villa Park, having trained ahead of the meeting with Steven Gerrard’s side.
Asked about the fitness of the Brazilian, the former Borussia Dortmund manager revealed that “he’s getting closer and closer” to making a return, while he went on to add that: “It’s a challenge [to pick a team] but the medical dept makes it easier sometimes. We will see but it’s challenging and that’s it. Bobby Firmino has trained so it is a decision for tomorrow.”
The 30-year-old has been absent since picking up a foot injury during the FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City at Wembley back in April, although made a welcome return to training last week to bolster his chances of featuring in the run-in.
The Anfield outfit will seemingly be thankful to see the former Hoffenheim man back in action should he be passed fit to play, with the Merseysiders needing to utilise their vast resources as they continue their push for an unprecedented quadruple.
With a Carabao Cup triumph already in the bag – and with a place in the Champions League and FA Cup final’s now secure – the club’s present concern is to keep pace in the race for the Premier League title, having lost ground at the weekend following the frustrating 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
While securing a point against Antonio Conte’s talented side may not appear a major setback, the relentless nature of their title rivals, Manchester City, has meant that any dropped point is now treated as a catastrophe.
With just three games left of the season to play in the top-flight, the Reds are currently three points behind the reigning champions and with City holding a marginally superior goal difference, meaning the battle for the league crown is no longer in their own hands.
They will need to get back to winning ways in midweek, although meet a familiar face in club legend Gerrard, with the Englishman admitting that he will pushing for a win for his Villa side, despite the potential ramifications it could have on his former club.
In truth, the destination of the title could rest in the hands of the Midlands outfit, with the club also set to face Pep Guardiola’s men on the final day of the campaign.
As far as Tuesday’s game is concerned, however, having Firmino in tow will help bolster Liverpool’s hopes of victory, with the £34.2m-rated man having netted 11 goals and provided four assists in all competitions so far this season.
Although the £180k-per-week man – who has just a year remaining on his existing deal – may no longer be a guaranteed starter in the side, he offers undoubted quality and experience in reserve, having notably netted vital goals against the likes of Arsenal and Benfica prior to his recent injury lay off.
He also offers a typically hardworking focal point in attack, ranking in the top 1% for tackles and blocks made among players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 3% for pressures made.
Teammate Andy Robertson previously insisted that the striker acts “as the first line of defence” such is his intense work ethic, with that boundless energy likely to be required in what will undoubtedly be a hard-fought tussle at Villa Park.