Firmino has missed the last four games – including last week’s initial clash – with a foot strain. The Brazilian has travelled after resuming running but won’t play at the Estadio de la Ceramica, where Liverpool head holding a commanding two-goal lead courtesy of a dominant first-leg win at Anfield last week.
“Bobby is now running, so it’s good,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “A little strain here in the middle foot bone, so it’s very painful each step.
“But he was running today again, will travel with us but will not be involved in the squad yet. But we hope sooner rather than later.”
Divock Origi could return to the Liverpool squad in eastern Spain after sitting out Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory against Newcastle due to non-Covid illness.
Jurgen Klopp made five changes to his starting lineup for a lunchtime kick-off at St James’ Park, with Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate all rested.
You would expect that quintet to return to the first XI at Villarreal, with Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, James Milner, match-winner Naby Keita and Diogo Jota quickly swapping back out.
However, Klopp has a difficult balancing act on his hands in Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, with quick-fire matches against Tottenham and Aston Villa to come as well as the FA Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley on May 14, which is followed by final top-flight meetings with Southampton and Wolves.
Klopp is not expecting any lingering effects from a stomach bug that has been in camp of late. He added: “We had the issues with a stomach bug – they are all back. I think that’s it. No concerns.”
Liverpool predicted XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Konate, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Mane, Salah, Diaz
Tuesday 8pm BST, BT Sport
Venue: Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Liverpool squad from: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson, Salah, Mane, Diaz, Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Elliott, Jota, Origi, Minamino.
Injured: Firmino (foot)