Liverpool’s Firmino and Mane to return

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Nov 2017 12:00:26



LIVERPOOL manager Juergen Klopp has indicated that Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are likely to start in the Premier League clash with Stoke City on Thursday.
The German chose to leave the pair out of the starting 11 in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with champions Chelsea, a decision that drew criticism on social media.
Although Mane came on for the final few minutes, Firmino was an unused substitute as Liverpool conceded a late equaliser at Anfield. Both men played the entirety of last week’s draw at Sevilla in the Champions League.
“It made sense at this part of the season to use the strength of the squad. It’s not completely unlikely they (Firmino and Mane) will start (against Stoke),” Klopp said in a news conference on Tuesday.

“For the last one, maybe we thought against Chelsea maybe he needs a rest or whatever –it was that we needed fresh legs against Chelsea and that’s what we wanted to have. I thought it worked quite well.
“It was a very important sign for the squad and from my side that I show the faith in all of the boys. It was very important for me that the boys showed me they are 100 per cent ready, so that was good – really good.”
Klopp said that Emre Can, who also missed the Chelsea game with a muscle problem, was now fit and Dejan Lovren was “close” to a return after suffering a series of problems and could feature against Stoke.

Sixth-placed Liverpool are 14 points behind the leaders Manchester City, who beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 on Sunday, a gap that Klopp suggested his team were unlikely to breach.

‘Improved Arsenal can mount title challenge’
PETR Cech believes Arsenal can compete for the Premier League title but said they will need to pick up points on a consistent basis, especially away from home.
Alexis Sanchez’s late penalty gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Burnley on Sunday that lifted them into fourth place on 25 points, one ahead of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
They trail leaders Manchester City by 12 points but Cech said it was too early to rule them out of the title race as they prepare to host promoted Huddersfield Town on Wednesday.

“We need to play game by game and not think too much about what’s going on around us because the only way is if you win your game you give yourself a chance,” the 35-year-old goalkeeper told the British media.
“The teams at this moment who are above us, if they keep going and keep winning, then you can’t catch them, but you need to make sure that you win your game first and then let’s see what will happen.

“It’s only 13 games in, that’s the most important thing and there’s so many points to be won. You need to carry on for 38 games and show consistency.”

Stoke won’t focus solely on Salah, says Hughes
STOKE City must be wary of the impressive array of Liverpool’s attacking talent and not just focus on Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah when the two sides meet on Wednesday, manager Mark Hughes said.

Salah has netted 15 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions for Juergen Klopp’s side this season, including the opening strike in Saturday’s 1-1 league draw with Chelsea at Anfield. However, Hughes is more concerned about Liverpool’s high tempo game which has allowed their front line to contribute 25 goals over 13 league games this season.

“We are facing a player in Mohamed Salah who is clearly in the best form of his Liverpool career,” Hughes told reporters. ”He has real technical quality and crucially, pace.
“But we can’t be overly concerned with one player though because they have match winners all over the pitch. We need to nullify them on Wednesday.”