Friday 20 April 2018

Klopp optimistic about scan on Coutinho ankle injury

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains optimistic about Philippe Coutinho's, pictured, ankle injury
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains optimistic about Philippe Coutinho's, pictured, ankle injury

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains optimistic about Philippe Coutinho's ankle injury after the influential playmaker was carried off on a stretcher in the 2-0 win over Sunderland.

The Brazil international was caught by Didier Ndong's follow-through half an hour into the game and later left Anfield on crutches with his right foot in a protective boot but he will not be able to be scanned until Sunday at the earliest.

Coutinho has played a major part in Liverpool's emergence as title challengers this season and is their leading scorer with six goals, having created countless other chances.

With another creative player in Adam Lallana still sidelined with a groin problem they can ill-afford another absence, especially after Roberto Firmino was forced off late on with a calf problem with striker Daniel Sturridge missing the game with a similar injury.

"We have to wait for the scan. What we know it is something with the ankle," said Klopp.

"He had pain. Pain gets better. In the first moment it was very painful but at half-time he said it was better.

"I am quite an optimistic guy so I hope he can train tomorrow."

After last week's goalless draw saw them lose top spot Liverpool's hard-earned win, courtesy of a 75th-minute goal from Coutinho's replacement Divock Origi and James Milner's added-time penalty, got them back on track.

It was not the free-flowing performance which has become their trademark this season but that was partly down to Sunderland's dogged resistance and defensive set-up.

"I didn't think about Southampton for a second today," added the German when he was asked whether he felt a repeat of St Mary's was on the cards.

"No, today was much more defensive. I don't think I have ever played against a more defensive team, man-marking against Coutinho and (Victor) Anichebe left full-back.

"It is a nice thing to learn that we are able to beat even the most defensive team I ever played against."

After back-to-back wins Black Cats boss David Moyes was unrepentant about his tactics on his bogey ground where his record is now lost seven, drawn seven, won none.

"After two great results, the last place you want to come is Anfield but I thought the players did a great job in managing the game," he said.

"I don't know any good teams who aren't first and foremost defensively sound.

"If you want to win the PL, you are going to have to have a good defence. If you want to avoid relegation, you have to have a good defence. We have not been good enough defensively recently.

"We had frustrated them for long periods but the difference in quality in the two squads would probably give you a reason why it wasn't good enough."

Press Association

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