Liverpool Team News: Klopp Confirms Coutinho Blow But Key Man Close To Return
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed some disappointing news regarding Philippe Coutinho but a key man could make his return during Liverpool game with Stoke.
Liverpool will look to keep their pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea when they entertain Stoke City at Anfield next Tuesday night.
Ahead of the game, Jurgen Klopp has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and he’s given reporters a team news and injury update.
The big news was regarding the fitness of Philippe Coutinho and Klopp confirmed that the playmaker is still not back in full training as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Coutinho suffered ligament damage in a challenge with Didier Ndong during the win over Sunderland in late November and the player told reporters last week that he was targetting a return to action against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.
However, Klopp insists he will not rush the Brazilian international back too soon and although he was reluctant to rule Coutinho out of the City game entirely, he admitted that it’s highly unlikely the 24-year-old will be fit in time.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com:
“Unfortunately, we don’t have him [Coutinho] back in training. He makes his training – that’s a big difference. Until we have him in training, there’s absolutely no reason to think about when he is back.
“We cannot rush the situation and we don’t want to rush it. We have to accept the more or less bigger steps in his improvement with this serious injury. It was not [just] ‘something’. It was a decent injury and is still, so we need to wait.
“Whenever he is back, the season is long enough that he can help us. We cannot rush it just because there are a few games now. That cannot have an influence on our decisions.”
“He was on a very good way then it was a little bit more difficult, because of a reaction in the ankle, and we had to cool down the situation a little bit. But he is still on a good way.
“I don’t think it will be, from this moment on, long-term still. But the game everybody is dreaming of, the City game for example – it was clear from the first second that this would be really unlikely, but it was the dream of Phil. So try to do it.
“In this moment, it’s not more likely than before but I don’t want to say it’s not possible. We have to see.”
It will be a huge blow for Liverpool if Coutinho does end up missing the crucial showdown with City at Anfield as Pep Guardiola’s side are one of their closest title rivals and I’m sure Klopp would love to have the Brazilian star available for such an important match.
There was some more positive news to come from the German’s press conference as he also revealed that Joel Matip is close to making his return to action following a niggling ankle injury which has hampered him in recent weeks.
Klopp says that he could have risked Matip against Everton last week but decided to give his ankle more time to settle so it sounds as though the Cameroon star will be back in contention to face Stoke next week.
However, Klopp will face a tough decision over who to drop if he decides to recall Matip as both Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren were excellent against Everton last time out.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 23, 2016
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