Striker pair in fight to face Magpies

Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino are vying to replace the injured Divock Origi for Liverpool’s visit of Newcastle on Saturday.

Liverpool: Striker pair in fight to face MagpiesLiverpool: Striker pair in fight to face Magpies

Origi had been the first-choice forward for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp in recent games, but he picked up an ankle ligament injury during the Reds’ 4-0 derby win against Everton on Wednesday which was initially expected to rule him out for the rest of the season.

However, while the Belgium international has no chance of facing the relegation-threatened Magpies, Klopp has refused to rule him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Klopp said: “The season is not over, without taking any risk for the player.

“I am long enough in this to know we are all different, all individuals.

“A long time ago I had an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament injury) and I played after four months. No-one could believe it worked, but I never had a problem.

“Why should we say now the season is over when we still believe there can be a few games?”

Klopp has to decide whether to start with Sturridge, who has scored three goals in his last four matches and took his tally to 50 for the club in just 87 matches in midweek, or pick the higher-energy Firmino as the nominal centre-forward.

Christian Benteke has recovered from a knee injury but has not yet trained and will not be involved on Saturday, while Joe Allen could get a start if Klopp decides to rotate his midfield from the Merseyside derby.

Martin Skrtel is doubtful with a groin injury, while injured duo Jordan Henderson and Emre Can are set to miss the rest of the season.

The arrival of Newcastle, who sit second-bottom and are two points adrift of safety, sees Liverpool’s Champions League-winning boss Rafa Benitez back at Anfield.

It is the Spanish tactician’s second return as an opposing manager after his previous spell as interim Chelsea boss in 2013, and he is expected to be warmly welcomed.

Klopp added: “I really like Rafa, we have met a few times.

“From my point of view, if someone wants to celebrate Rafa Benitez in memory of Istanbul or whatever – he is one of the most successful managers at Liverpool – they are very welcome.

“I don’t care about that. If they want, do. Be louder than you have ever been, that is absolutely okay.

“That is how I would say hello to a good old friend, so no-one has to ignore this wonderful moment because I am here now.

“Do what you feel and if it is very good, show it.”

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