Lallana, Sturridge and Origi can cover Coutinho absence, says Houghton

The former Reds midfielder admits losing the Brazilian to injury is a ‘big blow’ but remains convinced that Jurgen Klopp has enough quality options to cope

Ray Houghton has conceded that losing Philippe Coutinho for six weeks is a ‘big blow’ for Liverpool but has backed others to step up in his absence.

The Brazilian has been in superb form but is set to sit out a crucial stage of the season after damaging his ankle in a Premier League meeting with Sunderland.

Klopp: Sturridge is not for sale

Houghton is convinced that Jurgen Klopp’s side can continue to push on without him, however, with the likes of Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in line to get the chance to replace his attacking spark.

The former Reds midfielder told LFC TV: “I think it’s a big blow because he [Coutinho] has been so consistent this season, not only scoring goals but also assisting.

“It looks he will be out for five weeks – a big five weeks as there are a lot of big games coming up. Matches against Everton and Manchester City, there are other matches he is going to miss out on.

Sakho isn’t part of Klopp’s plans

“But he has been a big player for Liverpool. But what I would say at the moment is that there are other players to come in.

“We have been missing Adam Lallana, who has been so consistent this season. Origi, who has not played much, Daniel Sturridge likewise. The manager has got options in that area of the field.

“Although it’s a blow, I think Liverpool can get over it with the players they have got.”

Liverpool team news & likely line-up

Coutinho’s six goals in 14 appearances have helped Liverpool to position themselves in the midst of the Premier League title battle, with only one defeat suffered in top-flight competition so far.

They will get the opportunity to move back into second place in the division on Sunday when they travel to Bournemouth, with victory required to lift them above Arsenal and to within a point of leaders Chelsea.


12 2016

Cristiano who?! Coutinho names three Barcelona players better than Ronaldo

The Liverpool ace, who has been to Barcelona, talked up his trio of prospective future team-mates in their race to be crowned this year’s best player

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho did his transfer links to Barcelona no harm by tipping MSN trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar for the 2016 Ballon d’Or – snubbing Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.

Bale, Iniesta, Kroos and the players set to miss El Clasico

The Brazilian has truly come of age this season, firing the Reds to Premier League title contention before suffering an untimely injury last weekend against Sunderland.

Coutinho’s performances at Anfield have reportedly seen long-term suitors Barcelona renew their interest in signing him to boost their own charge for silverware, with Neymar thought to be urging his compatriot to join him at Camp Nou.

And the Liverpool ace has made it clear that his admiration for the striker and his partners in crime – Messi and Suarez – is mutual, as he indicated the three ought to occupy podium finishes to be crowned the world’s best player.

The Victor Moses story: From the Gareth Bale of youth football to a main man at Chelsea

“My top three players in the world are the MSN trio,” he told FourFourTwo.

“One is fast, the other is skilful, then there’s the top scorer, so they really complete each other.”

Asked whether his choices meant 2016 favourite Ronaldo – who won the Champions League and Euro 2016 with Real Madrid and Portugal respectively – had no place, Coutinho was unequivocal.

Why Arsenal boss Wenger has to keep faith with Oxlade-Chamberlain

“Obviously there are others at Real Madrid too, like Cristiano Ronaldo, but those three [Messi, Suarez and Neymar] complete each other,” he said.

The MSN are set to go head-to-head against Ronaldo for La Liga bragging rights when Barcelona host Madrid in El Clasico this Saturday.


11 2016

Klopp: Coutinho out until January

The Brazil international is unlikely to play again until the new year as a result of the ankle injury sustained in his side’s win over Sunderland on Saturday

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is facing more than five weeks out of action after sustaining an ankle injury in Saturday’s Premier League win over Sunderland, manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.

Liverpool can still have Merry Christmas with Coutinho returning in New Year

The Brazil international was sent for a scan at Spire Hospital on Merseyside after being substituted during the first half of the 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Coutinho, who arrived for those tests with his right foot in a heavy brace, is likely to be sidelined until January after the extent of the damage was confirmed.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s EFL Cup quarter-final with Leeds United on Tuesday, Klopp told BBC Radio 5 live: “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.”

Coutinho has been one of the standout performers of the Premier League this season, with five goals and five assists helping Klopp’s side to stay within a point of leaders Chelsea after 13 matches.

He is expected to miss at least their next five matches, including the derby against Everton on December 19, although there is a chance that he could be available for a key clash with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on December 31.

Speaking before the game with Leeds at Anfield, Klopp said: “Phil Coutinho is a really good football player. So if we cannot use him for the next few days or weeks, each team in the world would feel it, that’s how it is.

TEAM NEWS: Mane and Origi start, Woodburn on the bench for Liverpool

“But of course I can say now there is no excuse for anything. As good as he is, he cannot decide games by himself, even when it looks sometimes like this because he takes the ball, dribbles and shoots.

“But then it’s only a goal or whatever, then everybody has to defend so it’s really a team performance that we create.”


11 2016

Liverpool can still have a Merry Christmas with Coutinho returning in the New Year

The Brazilian’s absence is a significant blow, but it gifts the likes of Divock Origi an opportunity to step up and prove that the Reds really do possess great strength in depth


No requirement for surgery, and multiple weeks out instead of months; relief flooded Melwood on Monday afternoon as a scan revealed Philippe Coutinho’s injury was not as bad as it seemed when absolute agony was tattooed on his face against Sunderland. 

Klopp won’t rush into market

On the half-hour mark against David Moyes’ men, the Brazilian international – writhing with his eyes watery – had his hand on his right foot and his head on the turf after challenging for the ball with Didier Ndong. 

The pictures of his ankle didn’t make for pretty viewing and neither did the imagery of the player, overcome with pain, having to be stretchered off the Anfield turf with the affected area in protective padding.

But Coutinho fortunately sidestepped a break, with ligament damage expected to sideline the 24-year-old for up to six weeks during the packed festive schedule.

He is targeting an earlier recovery, not relinquishing the hope of being fit for the New Year’s Eve hosting of Manchester City, but in his absence, Liverpool are convinced their aspirations will not crumble. 

Jurgen Klopp summed up the situation, as he so often does, superbly. “Phil Coutinho is a really good football player, if we cannot use him for the next few days or weeks, each team in the world would feel it, that’s how it is,” he said.

“That’s no excuse for anything. Philippe, as good as he is, can’t decide games by himself, even if it looks sometimes like this because he takes the ball, little dribbling, good shot and it’s a goal, but then everyone has to defend. 

“It’s really a team performance what we’ve created and he’s a very important part of this team absolutely, but of course we can deal with it, of course we can handle it.”

Football unites behind Chapecoense

Liverpool’s core strength this season has been their collective clout. While Coutinho is the club’s premier performer, the Reds have not been overly reliant on him given the potency of their other threats.

He has scored six goals across all competitions, the same amount as Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. James Milner has contributed five, with Daniel Sturridge netting four.

Adam Lallana and Divock Origi, meanwhile, have three apiece. 

Liverpool possess 11 different scorers in the league – a division high – while also having 10 players who have created a goal. 

Their firepower extends throughout the pitch, with the club’s defence one away from recording double digits for successful efforts in all competitions.

Can has no Bayern regrets

Coutinho’s injury is unfortunate for the Brazilian, but counts as an opportunity for those on the fringes of the first 11. Origi, who replaced him on Saturday and broke Sunderland’s resistance in the 2-0 victory, can further illustrate why he should be starting games. 

Sturridge, currently nursing a tight calf, will be itching to provide a reminder of his expert finishing powers.

And with Lallana hoping to return to the midfield against Bournemouth, Gini Wijnaldum could be an option for Klopp to field further forward. Sheyi Ojo would be another when he’s back to his sharpest following a back issue.

The loss of Coutinho cannot be sugar coated, but similarly, Liverpool’s combined brilliance should not be underestimated. 

Of course, fingers and all else will be crossed that the attacker recovers ahead of schedule as he plans to because, with Mane off to the African Nations Cup in January, losing two out of three of the league’s most devastating forward line is unwelcome. 

If Liverpool can land one of their young wide forward targets in the winter window, it would help solidify their ambitions. 

Klopp has admitted the club “watch the market, watch what’s happening around, scouting, to look at promising players from leagues you cannot watch too often, but that doesn’t mean we can take one, it’s only to be informed – to know about development, strength, whatever and that’s what we do.”

’Bring back Mignolet’

Liverpool shouldn’t – and given their surgical, long-term approach – won’t panic buy at the turn of the year. They don’t need to. 

Klopp is convinced his charges can continue to be assertive without Coutinho; their aim simple and clear.

“We don’t look for excuses,” the Reds boss said. “We only want to perform and play football.”

Their authoritative show, which has produced a 14-game unbeaten run, must go on.


11 2016

Klopp won't rush into transfer market despite Coutinho injury

The Reds boss admitted the importance of “staying informed” on potential signings, but maintained the club will only make a move if the right player is available

Jurgen Klopp has revealed Liverpool have been paying close attention to the transfer market in preparation of possibly strengthening in January, but Philippe Coutinho’s injury won’t force the club to make a purchase.

Coutinho out for up to six weeks

The Brazil international is facing a sideline spell of up to six weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Sunderland. 

While the 24-year-old has designs on making a quicker recovery than is normal for such a setback, targeting the New Year’s Eve hosting of Manchester City, it will still leave the Reds short of his services for much of the festive period. 

With Sadio Mane away at the African Nations Cup in January and Danny Ings ruled out for the season, the Merseysiders had already been assessing whether they should bolster their squad when the winter window opens, and if there is any business really worth doing at the turn of the year.

The club have been tracking young wide forwards, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt and Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund two of the players under consideration. However, neither talent would be easy to attain – especially not mid-season – as both Bundesliga clubs are unwilling sellers.

“We have a few hours of training a day, but I’m here for much longer than for training. In all this time, we do different things and a few of these things is to watch the market, watch what’s happening around, scouting, to look at promising players from leagues you cannot watch too often,” Klopp said when asked if Liverpool would consider softening the Coutinho blow through recruitment.

“That’s what we do all the time. That doesn’t mean we can take one, but it’s only to be informed – to know about development, strength, whatever and that’s what we do. 

“That’s preparation for a situation that could be in the next transfer window.  Actually, I’ve thought before [Coutinho got injured] about it, but it doesn’t mean we’ll do it. 

“We have to think about it all the time, to prepare the situation. We’ve already prepared for the summer and that’s how it is. 

“We’ve spoken about the camp, organised the camp for the summer and all this stuff, whether transfers will be done or not, if we have another few injuries or not… We will see. 

“Maybe a few young lads now will take the chance because of injuries to other players so then we don’t think about it [making a signing] anymore. 

“It’s not to make a transfer, it’s only if we think the squad needs another player then I think we will do it, otherwise not.”


11 2016

Coutinho is good, but he doesn’t decide games by himself – Klopp

A scan on Monday confirmed the Brazilian star will be unavailable for the testing festive schedule but the Liverpool boss is convinced his side can continue to do the business

Jurgen Klopp believes any team in the world would be affected by the loss of a player like Philippe Coutinho at a critical stage of the season but reiterated his belief that Liverpool’s stellar start to 2016-17 has been down to their collective effort.

The Brazil international – one of the Premier League’s standout performers of the campaign – is set to be ruled out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage sustained in the 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

The 24-year-old had to be stretchered off the Anfield turf in the first half after tussling for the ball with Didier Ndong, with the Gabonese midfielder catching his right foot unintentionally.

A scan at Spire Hospital on Monday afternoon confirmed Coutinho will be unavailable for much of Liverpool’s testing festive schedule, which includes a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park as well as the hosting of Manchester City on December 31.

The club have not yet put a definitive timescale on his rehabilitation, with the player historically returning earlier than expected from setbacks.

Coutinho will be determined to deliver another speedy recovery and is targeteting the New Year’s Eve encounter against Pep Guardiola’s men for his comeback.

Klopp acknowledged it is not ideal for Liverpool – currently second in the league standings – to be without their star attacker for the upcoming stretch but noted that his side’s brilliance has been built in unison, rather than through individuals.

“Phil Coutinho is a really good football player; if we cannot use him for the next few days or weeks, each team in the world would feel it, that’s how it is,” Klopp said.

“That’s no excuse for anything. Philippe, as good as he is, can’t decide games by himself, even if it looks sometimes like this because he takes the ball, little dribbling, good shot and it’s a goal, but then everyone has to defend.

“It’s really a team performance what we’ve created and he’s a very important part of this team, absolutely, but of course we can deal with it, of course we can handle it.

“It’s not the best thing that I can imagine, it’s not that dreamt about it and thought it’s a good idea for us to show we can play without Phil, but it’s clear that if he’s not in, then we have to show this and we will show this.

“How you see now: Phil – not in, Adam [Lallana] – close but not in, Daniel [Sturridge] – maybe close, but not in… these are all quality players so of course we miss them, but we don’t look for excuses, we only want to perform and play football.

“And I think the way we play, it’s possible without them, but it would be better if they were all fit.”


11 2016

Coutinho set for up to six weeks out with ankle injury

The Brazilian star suffered ankle ligament damage against Sunderland but Liverpool are hopeful he may return ahead of the usual schedule for injuries of this nature

Philippe Coutinho is set to miss up to six weeks of action with ankle ligament damage, ruling him out of much of Liverpool’s busy Christmas schedule.

The Brazilian was substituted in the first half of the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday and underwent a scan at Spire Hospital in Liverpool on Monday afternoon.

‘Scary’ Chelsea the pick of PL title challengers

Liverpool are hopeful Coutinho may not need the full six-week recovery period usually required for this type of injury but he will almost certainly miss the Merseyside derby at Everton on December 19, with the clash against Manchester City on December 31 targeted for a potential early return.

After closing out November with a League Cup fixture against Leeds United on Tuesday night, Liverpool will face a run of six matches before the New Year.

The Reds will be without several attacking options for the visit of Leeds, with Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana also currently sidelined and Roberto Firmino likely to sit the game out after being substituted with a knock against Sunderland.

Divock Origi scored the winner after replacing Coutinho against the Black Cats and could be rewarded with increased first-team football in the coming weeks, while highly rated youngster Ben Woodburn also appeared from the bench.

Kalou: Moses always destined for greatness

Coutinho has been in sensational form for Liverpool this season. The 24-year-old has recorded five goals and five assists in 13 Premier League appearances and was nominated for the division’s player of the month award for October.

He has played a key part of Jurgen Klopp side’s ascent to second in the table, with their 32 goals scored currently the highest total in the English top flight.


11 2016

Klopp: Liverpool know probable outcome for Coutinho

The full extent of the Brazilian forward’s ankle injury is not yet known, but the Reds’ German boss is not expecting good news

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is still waiting for an update on the extent of Philippe Coutinho’s ankle injury, but hinted that he is fearing bad news.

The Brazil international had to leave Anfield in a protective boot on Saturday after suffering the problem in the first half of his side’s 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Coutinho set for ankle scan

Fears Coutinho may have suffered ligament damage that would lead to a long spell out of the team continue after Klopp revealed the club were still waiting for scan results, even if he has an idea what the information may be.

“Coutinho we have to wait for a scan, then we will know how long he is out and we have to take it like it is,” Klopp said at his pre-match media conference on Monday ahead of Liverpool’s EFL Cup quarter-final tie against Leeds United. 

“The best thing would be for Coutinho to not be out but it is not really likely.

“We have to wait for the final scan but we know what it will probably be.” 

Coutinho sends message to Reds fans

Klopp insisted he would not take any chances with his line-up, but would not ring the changes if he did not have to despite coming up against Championship opposition in Leeds.

“We need a line-up that can stand the intensity of the game,” he said.

“Leeds are in a good moment. We need to work hard in this game.

“We need to have a look at the players. We need to listen and figure if the players are ready or not. We can’t take risks as we are not in this rhythm [of playing twice a week].

“I really have no idea what the team is. We don’t want to rest one who doesn’t need a rest.

Klopp: Liverpool ready for ‘parked buses’

“The plan is to find a line-up that can win. It is possible we make changes but it is possible we name a strong team.

“Garry Monk is a very, very promising young manager. I’m happy for him that it works out for him like this – it was a good idea to join Leeds. I felt he was unlucky [at Monk’s former club Swansea City].”

Klopp thinks Roberto Firmino (calf) will be fit to face Leeds at Anfield on Tuesday and confirmed Simon Mignolet will start in goal, although Adam Lallana (groin) and Daniel Sturridge (calf) are set to miss out.


11 2016

Coutinho sends message to Liverpool fans as he prepares for long injury lay-off

The Brazil international attacker has thanked supporters for all the messages of support as he gets ready to learn the extent of his ankle injury on Monday

Philippe Coutinho has thanked Liverpool fans for their support as he prepares to learn the full extent of his ankle injury on Monday.

Klopp ready for parked buses

The Brazil international had to be substituted after 34 minutes of the Reds’ 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday after clashing with Didier Ndong.

Coutinho will undergo a scan on Monday to discover just how serious the injury is, with Liverpool fearing their star man has suffered ankle ligament damage.

That could see him miss months of first-team action as Jurgen Klopp’s side aim to mount a Premier League title challenge in 2016-17.

But Coutinho is trying to remain positive, sending an Instagram message to his followers to appreciate their support.


I’d like to thank my family, fans and friends for all the positive messages, that’s very important to me./ gostaria de agradecer a minha família, fãs e amigos por todas as mensagens positivas, isso é muito importante pra mim.

A photo posted by Philippe Coutinho (@phil.coutinho) onNov 27, 2016 at 12:32pm PST

He wrote: “I’d like to thank my family, fans and friends for all the positive messages, that’s very important to me.”

Premier League Team of the Week

Coutinho joined Liverpool from Inter back in 2013 and has developed into one of the Premier League’s best-performing midfield players.

The Brazilian already has five league goals this season and has also contributed six assists to help the Merseysiders up to second in the table.


11 2016

Coutinho to have scan on suspected ankle ligament damage

The Reds attacker will know how long he’ll be sidelined for after an examination on Monday, while his countryman Roberto Firmino is not expected to have a screening on his calf

Philippe Coutinho will discover the full extent of his injury after undertaking a scan on Monday afternoon, with Liverpool suspecting their Brazilian star has suffered ankle ligament damage.

RUMOURS: Bayern target Liverpool manager Klopp

The 24-year-old – one of the Premier League’s standout performers this season – was left in anguish after Didier Ndong caught his right foot unintentionally as he cleared the ball in the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday. 

He had to be stretched off on 33 minutes with a protective brace around the damaged area, with deep concern painted on the faces of all associated with the home side at Anfield.

Coutinho reported to Melwood on crutches with his right foot still in a protective boot for further assessment on Sunday, but a full evaluation will only be made following his scan. 

Jurgen Klopp has adopted an optimistic outlook, with Liverpool hoping they will not be robbed of the attacker’s spellbinding gifts for a sizeable period.

Fellow Brazil international Roberto Firmino, meanwhile, is not expected to require a screening after taking a kick to his calf in the game.

RUMOURS: PSG to make staggering Lallana bid

Daniel Sturridge, who has tightness in the same area and was not included in the matchday squad against David Moyes’ men, sat out Sunday’s workout.

Adam Lallana, however, continues to train outside with the fitness coach as he overcomes a groin issue and is making good progress.


11 2016