Thursday 19 October 2017

Jurgen Klopp hints at Coutinho return as playmaker included in Liverpool squad to face Sevilla

Philippe Coutinho, pictured right, with Jurgen Klopp
Philippe Coutinho, pictured right, with Jurgen Klopp

Evan Bartlett

Liverpool fans will have to wait until an hour before kick-off against Sevilla to find out if Philippe Coutinho is returning to first-team action after manager Jurgen Klopp offered a tantalising update on his status.

The playmaker is yet to feature for the Reds this season following his summer long transfer saga with Barcelona.

The 25-year-old’s return was delayed due to a back injury that cleared up in time for him to feature for the Brazil national team in the recent international break but he did not play a part in Liverpool’s heavy defeat to Manchester City at the weekend.

Asked if Coutinho would start in the Champions League opener at Anfield, the German manager clearly did not want to give too much away.

"I could give you an idea at this stage," Klopp told reporters on Tuesday night.

"But I’m sure Liverpool supporters around the world are ready to wait another 24 hours. He is fit, he is healthy.

"All the information about the line-up you will have to wait until tomorrow. But he is here."

Klopp also said he was not surprised that Liverpool lost their appeal over Sadio Mane’s red card but insisted the club had a “duty” to challenge the length of the three-match ban.

The Senegalese forward was sent off for a high boot on Ederson which saw the City goalkeeper require eight stitches in his face.

"I know if it was the other way around, it wouldn’t have been different to what Man City think at this moment," Klopp said.

"I’m not sure if I’m disappointed, I didn’t expect anything different.

"I thought our appeal was absolutely right."

Klopp also insisted that although Mane was upset with the injury to Ederson, he must not change the way he plays.

"The most important thing for me to say is not even 1 per cent of Sadio wanted to bring the goalkeeper in danger. He wanted to get the ball.

"It’s important he wants to do that in all the games he plays. We cannot change this. It’s a sport where things like this happen.

"I don’t blame the ref for the decision. He didn’t give the red card immediately, but when he saw the player bleeding, I would have made the same decision.

"It was our duty to appeal, but as I said after the game, it was a waste of time."

Independent News Service

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