Soccer-Liverpool's Salah in doubt for League Cup final but Ljinders hopeful he will play

Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations - Group B - Egypt v Mozambique - Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, Ivory Coast - January 14, 2024 Egypt's Mohamed Salah scores their second goal from the penalty spot REUTERS/Luc Gnago/ File photo

(Reuters) - Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders is hoping forward Mohamed Salah will be fit for Sunday's League Cup final against Chelsea, but said his participation remains in doubt.

Both Salah and fellow forward Darwin Nunez missed Wednesday's match against Luton Town after featuring for Liverpool at Brentford at the weekend.

"Dominik (Szoboszlai), Darwin and (Salah), we really have to see. We have two more days," Lijnders told reporters on Friday. "Then we will check if they can be there. It would be great to be honest."

Liverpool are going into the final with several injuries to key players, Ljinders added.

"Curtis (Jones) has a sprain with a muscle on his high ankle and will be (out) until around the international break," he said.

"Trent (Alexander-Arnold) has a lateral ligament injury and will be out until after the international break. Diogo Jota has a medial ligament will be after the international break, but after the international break here means we are not sure (how long)."

The Dutchman said that Liverpool had created "new teams in one season" to deal with their injury issues.

"In Holland you say every disadvantage has its advantage," 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."

League leaders Liverpool beat 10th-placed Chelsea 4-1 when they played on Jan. 31, but Ljinders said the opposing team had improved since then.

"I think (Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino) has finally found his starting XI," he said.

"They have speed up front and when they play out of our counter press, so we will need both boxes to defend them."

(Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Ros Russell)

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