Sunday 19 November 2017

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirms extent of Coutinho injury

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho faces an injury lay-off
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho faces an injury lay-off

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Philippe Coutinho will be out of action for at least five weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 ahead of tonight's League Cup semi-final against Leeds at Anfield, Klopp said: “Phil needs between five and a few weeks until we have him back. We will see. He is not in for tonight and for the next few games.”

Klopp says the absence of Philippe Coutinho is no excuse for Liverpool failing to maintain their trophy ambitions this season.

Coutinho is expected to miss at least five weeks because of ankle ligament damage, ruling him out of the Merseyside derby on December 19, among several fixtures.

However, the Brazilian playmaker has not given up hope of making a rapid recovery in time for the crucial visit of Manchester City to Anfield on New Year's Eve.

Although the setback is not as bad as first feared when he was carried off against Sunderland on Saturday, losing Coutinho ahead of a hectic period is still a serious blow to Liverpool's title aspirations.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

"Phil is a really good football player and if we can't use him for the next few days or weeks then every team in the world would feel that. That's how it is but there is no excuse for anything," said Klopp.

"Phil, as good as he is, cannot decide games on his own, even if it looks like that at times. He dribbles, he shoots and he is important but it is really a team performance that we have created. He's a very important part of that but of course we can handle it.

"It's not the best thing I can imagine or dream about, to show that we can play without Phil, but we have to show it and we will show it. Phil's not in, Adam (Lallana) is close but not in, Daniel (Sturridge) is not in; they are all quality players but we don't look for excuses.

"We want to show it's possible to play the way we play football without them, but of course it is better if they are all fit."

Regardless of injuries, Klopp is sure to make changes to his starting line-up for tonight's visit of Leeds in the League Cup quarter-final.

His quandary is in attack where there is a shortage of options, so at least one, possibly two, of Divock Origi, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino may have to start against Garry Monk's Championship side.

"We need to make decisions but all the decisions we make will be about winning the game," said Klopp.

The German might be tempted to use 17-year-old winger Ben Woodburn, who was handed his debut in the closing stages of Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland.

"I think Ben is mentally ready to start a game," said Klopp. "He's a very, very promising player and we want to use him as early as possible. There is no decision on when that will be, because I have not decided on the line-up." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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