Liverpool midfielder James Milner has provided insight from the dressing room as injury issues begin to tease a late emergence in the club’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple. Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah are the latest subjects of fitness fears after both were forced off in Saturday’s FA Cup Final.
After a closely-contested affair, Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties at Wembley for the second time this season, following their Carabao Cup triumph. But with more prominent prizes in Jurgen Klopp’s sights this month, the victory was somewhat marred by concerns over his two leading stars.
Salah exited the field with a groin injury after just 32 minutes before Van Dijk played no part in extra-time and penalties due to a knee problem. Both stars are doubtful for Tuesday’s must-win trip to Southampton, but full assessments are yet to be made.
However, Milner has reassured supporters that Liverpool’s entire squad is ‘ready to go’ if Klopp needs to call on them in their final three games of the campaign. The 36-year-old recalled the momentous win against Barcelona on their 2019 Champions League-winning run and last season’s top-four push as proof Liverpool have the depth to cope with absences.
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He said: “The group, the manager, the experience of being there before without big players. If you go back to Barcelona, that famous night, look at the players who were missing then. That shows a great mentality within the squad. It shows how well we train, [and] how well we’re coached.
“If you miss those players for half a season, it’s going to be tough, but everyone is ready to go even if they haven’t played for a while. Look at last season, just to get into the Champions League, the players who were playing centre-half. We changed it around, and we found a way, and that’s got us to a Champions League final.”
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Liverpool could be three games away from becoming the first-ever English club to complete the quadruple. However, even if they win their final two Premier League clashes against Southampton and Wolves, they will rely on club icon Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to avoid defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.
The Reds will be more confident of picking up a seventh Champions League crown in Paris later this month. Klopp’s side are the favourites as they face record winners Real Madrid in the Stade de France on what could be a historic night for more reasons than one.
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