February 26, 2019 / 4:23 PM / 5 months ago

Liverpool's Klopp to resist rushing Firmino back for Watford clash

(Reuters) - Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino’s ankle injury is not as serious as initially estimated, but manager Juergen Klopp said he may not risk the Brazilian even if he is passed fit for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Watford.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Liverpool - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 24, 2019 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino with manager Juergen Klopp as he is substituted off REUTERS/Phil Noble

Firmino sustained an ankle injury in Liverpool’s goalless draw at Manchester United on Sunday. Klopp is keen to manage his player’s injury ahead of the Merseyside derby with Everton at the weekend.

“If Bobby goes down and leaves the pitch it is always a bad sign because he is a pretty hard boy,” Klopp told reporters.

“Because we play tomorrow, it will be very close for that, but he has a big chance for the derby.

“Writing Bobby off is a big mistake because he recovers pretty quick... I would say ‘Yes (there is a chance for Watford)’, but I don’t know if I would use that chance.”

Klopp said leaders Liverpool, who have drawn three out of their last four games to allow champions Manchester City back into the title race, must focus on Watford and not get distracted by the clash with Everton on Sunday.

“I don’t think at any time in the history of football a manager thinks about a Sunday game when they’re playing on Wednesday. Watford is a difficult one, they are on a good run and they have different styles of play,” the German added.

“Against the top six they don’t have a lot of possession but they are a good counter-attacking threat, good from set pieces and second balls.

“It’s different when they play other teams, they are much more proactive. We need to be ready for both.”

Liverpool have 66 points from 27 games, one point more than second-placed City.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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