It all worked out in the end with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge opening the scoring after Reds attacker Roberto Firmino was ruled out of the trip to West Ham United with a muscle problem, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp gave no assurances that the Brazilian would be back in time to face Middlesbrough FC in the final match of the season.
“Not a real idea, but it’s a bigger chance than for this game today,” said the German manager, refusing to speculate. “We tried a little bit on Friday, only with a little running. [But] he still felt the muscle, so [there was] no chance. He struggled a little bit in the last few weeks with different parts of his body. We always had to manage the intensity with him, did it and then in the game he actually didn’t really feel it,” explained Klopp. “Then after the [Southampton] game, he said ‘Yes, now I feel something’ and that was too much for training last week,” added the Liverpool manager. “But [he has] another week and being an option would be cool for us.”
The Reds had far too much for a Hammers side lacking in ideas and with nothing left to play for with Firmino’s absence barely noticeable as the visitors controlled proceedings from the off. Sturridge rounded the ‘keeper, Philippe Coutinho bagged a quick-fire brace and Divock Origi added the coup de grâce with just under 15-minutes left to play as Klopp’s side planted one foot firmly in next season’s Champions League. A win over ‘Boro next weekend at Anfield would assure them third place and underline the fact that things are only getting better on Merseyside.
“[But] if we can be as focused as today, as fluent and have as good movement as today, then it will be difficult [for Middlesbrough],” mused the boss, already looking ahead to next Sunday. “But first of all, we have to train, we have to recover, we have to prepare and then find a line-up for the game,” continued Klopp. “Hopefully Roberto is coming back and will give us another option. For today, we could not have done better.”