Liverpool biding their time over injured duo

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool still plan to give Thiago Alcantara every chance to prove his fitness as the Reds prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday evening (Liverpool 11/10, Draw 11/4, Real Madrid 12/5 – Match Betting).

The former Barcelona midfielder suffered an Achilles injury during the final game of the Premier League season against Wolves, a match the Reds eventually won 3-1.

Liverpool (4/7 to win the Champions League – Outright) failed to win the Premier League title on Sunday, but their immediate thoughts turned to Thiago, who could now miss Saturday’s showpiece in Paris.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp insists the problem is not “severe”, but his chances of starting now hang in the balance.

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho is also doubtful, having not featured since the 2-1 win over Aston Villa on May 10. Liverpool have yet to issue an update on his fitness, but Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah are set to start having recovered from injury in time to take their place on the bench against Wolves.

Real Madrid (11/8 to win the Champions League – Outright) could be boosted by the return of Gareth Bale, with the Wales captain now in contention for the final.

The 32-year-old and fellow winger Eden Hazard returned to training ahead of the game, and Bale will be itching to equal Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of five Champions League wins. The Wales star has recently struggled with a back injury, but the signs are positive for his return.

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Ahead of kick-off, Klopp has urged his players to use their experience in major finals to their advantage.

He told UEFA: “In the first year, Europa League final and the Carabao Cup final. All of these experiences are important in life. They are. But they are not nice [in] any way.

“So then, we came back, and we had to learn [how to win]. We had to learn [how to] be at our top level of focus and concentration in a game like this.

“To do all the things you do over the years, to use it in such a high, prolific game – and that’s the plan. So yeah, I think if we are not entering a world-class team already, but you want to get there, then you’re going to have to learn [how].

“And that’s what we did, and I’m really happy with how the boys have developed over the years. That’s why the group has been pretty together since then. [This hasn’t] happened a lot, but some players are playing a third Champions League final, which is absolutely incredible.”

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Author: Lucas Carlson