Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of three key players ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final, writes Kevin Bannon at the AXA Training Centre

Reds Assistant manager Pep Lijnders revealed that Mohammed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai are yet to be confirmed as part of the squad for the Wembley clash against Chelsea.

The trio missed the midweek win over Luton, and Lijnders admitted that it will be a late call if they can take the field. 

He said: “Dominik, Darwin and Mo we really have to see. We have two more days. We have today’s session, tomorrow’s session and then we will check if they can be there. It would be great [if they could play] to be honest.”

Nunez is one of three key injury doubts for Sunday

The Dutchman did however rule midfielder Curtis Jones out of the final and gave an update on some of Liverpool’s longer term injuries.

He said: “Curtis has a sprain with a muscle on his high ankle and will be [out] until around the international break.

“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] has a lateral ligament injury and will be out until after the international break.

“Diogo Jota has a medial ligament and will be out until after the international break; but after the international break here means we are not sure. Alisson has a muscle injury until after the international break, so it will take time.”

Despite the number of injuries in the squad, the 41-year-old was keen to stress the positives of Liverpool’s situation, citing the emergence of young talents from The Academy. 

He said: “We have a few injuries so we get young players, players who didn’t play five in a row but they can show up and that is really cool. This season is a season we have already created new teams, it’s a compliment to our squad and our Academy.”

Sunday is the first opportunity for silverware this season as Liverpool go on the hunt for a historical quadruple but Lijnders warned about the dangers posed by Chelsea. 

He said: “Enzo Fernandez is the one where it all starts. He is the one who can play passes everywhere. Then they have Conor Gallagher who is a proper leader with the armband, from the academy. He is a number 10 but gets his shirt dirty as well.”

He was also full of praise for Cole Palmer too, calling him “one of the signings of the season.”


The game will be a repeat of the 2022 final, where Liverpool memorably defeated Chelsea 11-10 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes. 

If it were to go the distance again, Lijnders has full faith in his goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who has deputised for Allison in recent games.

He said: “He is a complete goalkeeper. He can make match-winning saves and he sees the game, knows when to play with direction and he is calm, that serenity creates calmness for the others. Especially the way we want to play. It’s important to have a goalkeeper like that.”