Liverpool's Champions League preparations take a blow with news of Firmino virus
Jurgen Klopp’s preparations for Liverpool’s Champions League tie with FC Bayern took a blow today with news that star forward Roberto Firmino missed Monday’s training sessions with a virus.
As reported in the Liverpool Echo, Firmino was unable to take any part in training due to the illness and it is unclear if he will be recovered in time to start against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
On a day when Dejan Lovren also missed training – all but confirming that is should be a central defensive partnership of Joel Matip and Fabinho due to Virgil van Dijk’s suspension – Liverpool’s number nine was unable to take to the training pitch at Melwood due to sickness.
Liverpool’s whole system will change if Firmino cannot play against FC Bayern. The Reds forward has played a deeper role this term with Mohamed Salah allowed to stay in a more advanced and central position.
The energy, work-rate and effective pressing that Firmino offers in Liverpool’s attacking third is often overlooked but can be blatantly obvious when the Brazilian international isn’t on the pitch.
Daniel Sturridge is reportedly fit and ready to deputise in Firmino’s absence but the former England international is a very different type of player than Firmino.
If Sturridge does start then I would expect Salah to revert to his wider position on the right with Sturridge in a more orthodox, advanced striker role. Klopp would most likely to have to field a 4-3-3 formation to get the best out of Sturridge up front.
Predicted XI v FC Bayern (if Firmino is not fully recovered): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson(c), Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Sturridge, Mané
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