Although it could very well be nothing more than a pre-cautionary measure on the part of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, the Reds could be set to shake things up when they face Championship side Derby County in the League Cup on Tuesday as strike pair Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino sat out training on Sunday.
Firmino, of course, was a shock exclusion from the Liverpool squad that ran out 2-1 winners against Chelsea on Friday night with the Brazilian picking up a groin injury during the week. Sturridge, on the other hand, was subbed off before the hour mark with the Englishman looking leggy and unable to sprint after the break. Though Klopp stressed in his post-match press conference that the 27-year old wasn’t carrying a knock, his absence from training will do nothing to keep people from talking.
“Everybody said we could take the risk, but I heard the word ‘risk’ too often and so said, ‘no, we can’t take it – Roberto is out’. To leave him out and then the other players play this kind of football is nice,” enthused Klopp, explaining why he left the Brazilian attacker on the sidelines before moving on to Sturridge. “I couldn’t see that he could sprint anymore, so that’s why we had to change. We had a healthy, young striker on the bench. That’s all,” said the German manager, waving away suggestions that he’d picked up a knock or tweaked a muscle. “The first half was really good – really good – from Daniel,” he said, before adding, “Nobody told me about an injury, so all is good.”
While both have quite a bit of time to get themselves together before Hull City visit Anfield next weekend, the trip to Pride Park may come too soon. Divock Origi, who scored in the 5-0 win over Burton Albion in the previous round, could find himself leading the line on Tuesday night after putting in a steady performance after replacing Sturridge on Friday and Danny Ings, who has seen his match time severly limited after suffering a serious knee injury last October, could also return as Klopp looks to not only manage his first team regulars, but push the rest of the squad to fight for their spots.