Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Nothing I am aware of was unforgivable' - Klopp backs Philippe Coutinho but Brazilian won't return to face City

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

Carl Markham

Philippe Coutinho will not feature for Liverpool against Manchester City this weekend but manager Jurgen Klopp says the Brazilian did nothing "unforgivable" during Barcelona's pursuit of him.

Klopp does not feel the playmaker is fit enough to be included in the Reds squad for the short trip to the Etihad Stadium.

It is almost a month since Coutinho handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move to Barcelona, who had three bids rejected over the summer after Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group insisted the 25-year-old was not for sale.

He has not yet played a match for the Reds because of a reported back injury but played 47 minutes in two substitute appearances for the national team, scoring a trademark goal against Ecuador.

But that has not been enough to prove his fitness to Klopp, who stressed that fitness was the only reason why the 25-year-old would not be lining up at the Etihad.

"I can explain it a little - maybe a few of you have had a split in a good relationship, with your wife or whatever, and it is not good to think about the time you were split," said Klopp.

"It was not the most easy time, but that is the transfer window. It is not the first time and it won't be the last time in history when similar things will happen.

"I really think we handled it really well. Not all the things in newspapers were 100 per cent right but it is normal a lot of things were coming up in a situation like this.

"But nothing I am aware of was unforgivable. The most important thing is no one told me anything where I thought 'Oh, that is too much'.

"He came in yesterday, accepted 100 per cent the situation - I didn't even have to say anything about it."

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