Jurgen Klopp 'very positive' over Roberto Firmino return for Liverpool
LIVERPOOL -- Jurgen Klopp is confident Roberto Firmino will be fit to play in Liverpool's huge encounter with Middlesbrough on Sunday.
Firmino was forced to miss last weekend's 4-0 win at West Ham United due to a muscle injury. Despite not participating in full training at Melwood this past week, the Liverpool manager is hopeful he will able to call upon the Brazilian for the must-win Boro match at Anfield.
"[It's] very positive," Klopp said of Firmino's fitness at a news conference on Friday. "We could not decide until now, but he feels good and he feels comfortable.
"He did a lot of things, but was not part of team training. That's not a problem after this long season. I think we will make a final test tomorrow. In this moment, I would rather say 'yes' than 'perhaps', but I am not sure."
Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson is set to miss Liverpool's final match of the season due to his lingering foot injury. The Reds captain has been sidelined since February with the problem and has not yet returned to training.
"It's not that difficult an injury, the problem is only that it's difficult to make the rehabilitation because this injury, all it needs is time," Klopp said.
"I had situations like this [before]. I don't know how many players I've managed in the last few years, but at one point always you think 'it would have been better if he would have broken his leg' or whatever [because] then you know everything about it.
"That's the situation, but we were not one second without our captain because Hendo is always around. He has an unbelievably important role, not only on the pitch but it's another role in the dressing room, here at Melwood and all that stuff, and he's always here so we are never without him and will not be without him on Sunday, of course.
"But no, there are no concerns [about his recovery], the only problem is the season was obviously a little bit too short for him to come back, that's all."
Liverpool know that if they beat relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday then a return to Champions League football awaits. Despite the ramifications, Klopp insists the weekend's finale does not have increased pressure on it and that Liverpool's preparation has been no different.
"It's important because it's a game of this very successful season," he added. "It's all clear. We have to perform, we have to win. If we have enough points after this matchday then we deserve Champions League. If we don't then we don't deserve it. It's pretty easy.
"It could only be more important if we would have thought before one other game in this season that it was not that important. We never thought it. It has exactly the same importance.
"The big difference is that it's the last one, so it's a big opportunity for us. What we've tried to do the whole week is to prepare as good as possible."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.