Wednesday 21 March 2018

'All good' for Klopp as Coutinho returns

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. Photo: PA
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. Photo: PA

Jamie Holland

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that the situation with Philippe Coutinho is "all good" after speaking with the want-away playmaker on his return from international duty.

The Brazil international handed in a transfer request almost a month ago in an attempt to force through a move to Barcelona, who had three bids rejected after owners Fenway Sports Group insisted the 25-year-old was not for sale.

He has not yet played a match for the Reds this term because of a reported back injury but, having joined up with his national side for World Cup qualifiers, he made two substitute appearances against Ecuador and Colombia, scoring a trademark goal in the first match.

Coutinho returned to Liverpool on a private jet on Wednesday with club-mate Roberto Firmino, Manchester City trio Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus and Chelsea's Willian after the three Premier League clubs once again pooled their resources to get their players back as soon as possible.

Relations He trained with the rest of the squad yesterday and afterwards Klopp told "Of course - all good, all good. Nothing else to say, actually. He's back and we had a really good conversation, so good."

However, while relations were said to be friendly, it is doubtful Coutinho, who played a combined 47 minutes for Brazil, will feature against Manchester City tomorrow.

"We saw training this morning and thought, 'Okay, maybe we should use him immediately', because he was really good, but that doesn't make sense," said Klopp.

Youngster Ben Woodburn also returned to Melwood on the back of two impressive substitute appearances and a senior debut for Wales.

The 17-year-old, who has yet to feature in Liverpool's match-day squad this season, is set to be offered a senior contract when he turns 18 next month.

Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, will take charge of the club's U-19s side in the UEFA Youth League this term.

Irish Independent

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