Liverpool FC manager hoping star midfielder can help beat Manchester United
Philippe Coutinho set for cameo roles against Southampton and the Red Devils this week
January 10th, 2017
It’s a big week for Liverpool who are looking to take a big step towards the EFL Cup final by getting a positive result before Sunday’s Premier League trip to Old Trafford.
Sadio Mane is in Gabon representing Senegal in the African Cup of Nations, although the past few days has seen Philippe Coutinho returning to training and the Brazilian is set to make cameo appearances against both Southampton and Manchester United.
Coutinho was a shining light in a Liverpool shirt earlier this term and Jurgen Klopp is clearly enthused by the player’s return this month, with the midfield playmaker likely to be on the bench for Wednesday’s clash at St Mary’s.
He won’t be 100% fit for Sunday’s Old Trafford trip either although he will still feature at some stage providing he comes through the EFL encounter with flying colours.
The Liverpool manager said: “The time is not long enough for him to be 100% for Manchester United but he could play. We have spoken before about there being a difference between being fit and being match-fit but of course it’s Phil, so we want to try everything we can to bring him as close as possible to his 100%.
“In this moment I would say it makes sense for him to be involved against Southampton, in the squad, and we will see what happens there – whether we have to use him or not or whatever. If not, we have another three days to prepare him for United. A few minutes for him does make sense. We will see if he’s ready tomorrow and on Wednesday morning. Then we will make the decision.
“It would be nice if big clubs thought like this and forgot about a player completely because he’s been injured for five or six weeks,” he said. “I’m not sure it’s like this but we never had any ideas or any plans or any talks about this because he is our player.
“There are no other ideas. Nothing changed. Big clubs don’t think this way, unfortunately. It was not a big injury so there was no question of him not being the same player afterwards.”