Jurgen Klopp has allayed his concerns about the fitness of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28, saying the two players are ‘a bit okay’ after being substituted during the penalty shootout of the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Salah, Liverpool’s top goalscorer with 30 goals this season, stumbled out of the cup final after just 33 minutes with a groin injury, while central defender Van Dijk was unable to appear in extra time due to a muscle problem.
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Both players took to the field at the end of the game as the rest of Klopp’s players raced to celebrate after Kostas Tsimikas scored the decisive goal in the 6-5 shoot-out win.
But while Klopp said Salah and Van Dijk are unlikely to play in Tuesday’s Premier League game against Southampton at St Mary’s, the Liverpool manager was more optimistic about the full extent of their injuries.
“I think [Salah, Van Dijk] are pretty okay,” Klopp told ESPN’s Alexis Nunes. “I don’t think they’ll be ready for Tuesday, to be honest… I don’t think they’d be ready for Tuesday anyway!
“But I think they’re fine, it was more of a precaution. Mo felt something, said I could go on and I had to make a decision, I said no…if you feel something on the pitch, it’s not going to get better [if you keep playing]staying on is not the best treatment!
“With Virgil it was clearer: 90 minutes yes, 120 minutes no.
“But what a situation, you bring Joel Matip! Oh my god! That’s really cool. So all right.”
When asked by reporters if he would qualify for the Champions League final as he left the stadium, Salah shouted back: “Of course.”
Liverpool have now won two trophies this season — Carabao Cup and FA Cup — and are still chasing glory in the Premier League and Champions League.
And captain Jordan Henderson said Liverpool are now focused solely on winning the remaining games of the season.
“We’ve won two so far this season,” Henderson said. “We still have some big games to go. We just have to push through to the end and see what we can finish.
“We have to recover quickly, another big game against Southampton on Tuesday, we have to be ready for that. And then Wolves at the weekend to finish the Premier League season and then the Champions League final.”
“We still have three big games to go and hopefully we can win all three and finish the season on a high.”