Coutinho ‘100 per cent fit’ ahead of England clash

Liverpool and Brazil star Philippe Coutinho insists he is “100 per cent fit” following his recent thigh injury and is set to feature against England at Wembley on Tuesday.

Coutinho last featured for club or country on October 22 in Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League, with the muscle problem forcing him to miss their following three matches.

Brazil 5/6 to beat England

He was called up to Brazil’s squad despite the injury and sat out of their friendly with Japan on Friday, but the 25-year-old’s recovery has since gone to plan.

And now he is raring to go, with the match against England giving him the perfect opportunity to build up a bit of match fitness ahead of returning to action with Liverpool.

“Unfortunately, I could not play for Liverpool in the past three games because of injury,” Coutinho told reporters.

“Now I feel 100% fit, I have recovered and I am in a good shape to be available for the game against England.

“I never want to miss any Brazil games. I am honoured to wear this shirt whenever I can.

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“England will be our first European opponent under Tite [Brazil coach]. We are looking forward to battling with them

“They have a lot of quality players who operate in a top league like the Premier League. It will no doubt be a difficult encounter.”


Dani Alves, Coutinho to return for Brazil vs England

Sunday’s training session at Craven Cottage suggested coach Tite will revert to his strongest XI when his side meet the Three Lions at Wembley

Dani Alves and Philippe Coutinho are among a host of players set to return to the Brazil starting line-up for Tuesday’s clash with England at Wembley.

Coach Tite changed half of his preferred XI for Friday’s Brasil Global Tour victory over Japan in Lille on Friday, but it set to revert to his strongest side in the English capital this week.

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Brazil hit the training ground on Sunday, taking to Fulham’s Craven Cottage in a session that all but confirmed the return of Tite’s first-choice back four.

Assistant Sylvinho worked extensively on defensive shape, puling aside Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda and Marcelo for defensive drills that all but confirmed the back four to face England.

Tite was keen to use the Japan game for some pre-World Cup experiments, but was always expected to return to his first XI against England, desperate to see how his team perform against a big side from outside of South America.

Today’s training session in London?

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Sunday, November 12, 2017

The coach admitted last week that he had hoped to once again shift Philippe Coutinho into a central midfield role against Japan before injury ruled him out of that clash.

The attacking drills on Sunday didn’t provide a clear example of the midfield and forward who will start this week, but local media expect Coutinho to return to a settled and consistent first-team: Alisson, Daniel Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda and Marcelo; Casemiro; Coutinho, Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Neymar; Gabriel Jesus.

Ederson may get another opportunity, however. The Manchester City goalkeeper made his long-awaited international debut last month and could be in line to see some minutes after Cassio and Alisson were each given 45 minutes in Lille.

Brazil return to the training ground on Monday, when they will hit the historic turf at Wembley for a session that will confirm the starting XI against England.


Coutinho ‘must have wanted Barcelona move’ – Suarez

Luis Suarez is convinced Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho will offer “a lot” to Barcelona should the Catalan giants make another attempt to sign the Brazilian.

Reds 11/10 for top 4

The attacking midfielder was the subject of significant interest from Barca in the summer transfer window, with Coutinho identified as one of several candidates to replace Neymar after his switch to Paris Saint-Germain.

Coutinho attempted to force a move himself, making it clear to Liverpool that his desire was to leave for Camp Nou, but the Premier League club held firm to keep their man.

Reports since have suggested that Barca will be going back in for Coutinho, and Suarez, who played with him for 18 months at Liverpool, is all for linking up with the former Inter talent once again.

Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, Liverpool

When asked how much Coutinho would offer Barca, Suarez told Mundo Deportivo: “A lot.

“I know him as a person and as a player because I played with him, but everyone knows what Coutinho can contribute. He is a footballer who today is at a very high level.

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“Obviously he must have wanted [to join Barca] because he is a player who has ambition and any player would want to come to Barcelona.

“He went through a difficult and very complicated moment, but as a professional he has continued to show how good a player he is and the individual quality he has.

“Despite trying to leave Liverpool he continued helping the team and working. He is demonstrating that he is a professional who has the ambition to take a step further.”


Training Day: Coutinho set to miss Brazil’s clash against Japan

Coach Tite is unlikely to make wholesale changes to his side for Friday’s BGT clash with Japan, but could test some alternatives in his preferred XI

Brazil took to the training field for this first time on Monday as the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour arrived back in Europe.

The five-time world champions are in Paris for three days prior to travelling up to Lille, where they will meet Japan on Friday before Tuesday’s clash with England at Wembley.

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Tite lead his team onto the field at Stade Chaterly for a session that saw a number of his squad sit out of some of the activities.

A handful of local players – including Tim Weah, son of former World Player of the Year George – were drafted in for a short 7-a-side, played first without goalkeepers while coach Taffarel put Alisson, Ederson and Cassio through their paces.

Alisson, Neymar, Willian, Paulinho and Danilo were joined by a couple of extras on one side, hinting that perhaps the latter two are in line to start against Japan.

Tite isn’t expected to make wholesale changes for Friday’s clash in Lille, but is rumoured to be keen to test a couple of alternatives in his preferred starting line-up.

Neymar missed PSG’s win over Angers at the weekend but participated fully in training on Monday and doesn’t appear to be an injury concern. 


Local hero #selecaobrasileira #PSG

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Philippe Coutinho, meanwhile, has been out of action with his club, Liverpool, and took part in light warm-up exercises at Stade Chartely.

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar then told a press conference that Coutinho was unlikely to be fit and available for selection on Friday.

Coutinho will remain with the squad, however.

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“Coutinho is in the final phase of his recovery and we knew he would not arrive fully fit, but we chose for him to finish his recovery with us,” said Lasmar. 

“The possibility of him playing against Japan is remote, but we will work to make him available against England.

“He will likely have to be on the bench, and could maybe only manage a few minutes. There is only a small chance of that, but we will work hard to get him fit for the second game.”

Brazil return to the training filed on Tuesday, when they will head to Parc des Princes to continue preparations ahead of this month’s Brasil Global Tour dares with Japan and England.


Paulinho, Coutinho, Neymar and Jesus – Brazil’s goalscoring quartet

Under new boss Tite, the free-scoring Selecao are now sharing out the goals among their four most potent attacking threats

One of the many plus-points of Brazil coach Tite’s reign so far has been that his team is looking increasingly less dependent on Neymar.

Under previous coach Dunga there was endless talk of the Selecao’s Neymardependencia, as local media became increasingly concerned that there seemed to be a sense of ‘Neymar or bust’ for the struggling five-time world champions.

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The PSG star is, of course, still vital to his nation’s hopes, but Tite has worked tirelessly to ensure other members of the team can step up and make the difference during matches in which Neymar is struggling to make the breakthrough.

A more cohesive unit has brought better performances from Neymar and, largely, seem him interact much more productively with his teammates.

Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Paulinho have all stepped up to hit vital goals time and again under the new boss, who has seen his side hit 35 goals in 15 matches.

Brazil GFX 31102017

Neymar stood head and shoulders above the rest in the goalscoring charts under Dunga, his tally of 11 goals leaving him way clear of the chasing pack, with the next four highest scorers (Willian, Renato Augusto, Roberto Firmino and Coutinho) all on four goals.

Under Tite, Gabriel Jesus leads the way with seven goals, just three short of Comebol World Cup qualifying top scorer Edinson Cavani despite playing only around two-thirds as many minutes as the Uruguayan.

Paulinho is not far behind, with six goals since his recall to international football. The shuttling midfield has been reborn with Brazil under Tite and hit the sole hat-trick of his career on a famous night in Montevideo as the Selecao dispatched Uruguay 4-1.

Dani Alves Paulinho Brasil Chile WC Qualifiers 2018 10102017

Neymar, meanwhile – who once again showed in the final qualifiers against Chile that he is playing more for the team – is still finding the net on a regular basis. The No.10 also his six since Tite’s arrival.

The PSG man could have ended a stunning counter-attack himself against Chile, but instead elected to roll the ball across the box Gabriel Jesus for a tap-in.

Philippe Coutinho is Brazil’s next highest score under the current boss, with four goals, but much of his focus has been in creating for others. 

Gabriel Jesus Coutinho Neymar Brasil Argentina Eliminatorias 2018 10112016

Willian and Diego Souza are the other players to have hit more than a single goal during Tite’s reign, and neither are now first-choice picks.

Brazil’s goals, then, are coming in droves, but mostly from their start quartet of Paulinho, Coutinho, Neymar and Jesus.

They will all be action this month as the Brasil Global Tour takes the Selecao to Europe for matches against Japan and England.


Lovren could return for Liverpool despite death threat scare, says Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren available for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Maribor.

An adductor problem kept Coutinho out of the 3-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday, while Lovren was forced to withdraw from the starting XI moments before kick-off due to a thigh concern.

The centre-back was heavily criticised for his performance in the 4-1 loss to Tottenham and revealed on Instagram his family had been the target of a death threat in recent days , prompting suggestions he could be rested for Maribor’s visit to Anfield.

But Klopp, who will speak to Lovren about the message aimed at his family, hopes to have both in the squad for a key game in Group E, provided they can come through training on Wednesday unscathed.

“I am not 100 per cent sure. They are both much better but whether they will be ready, I don’t know at this moment,” Klopp told a news conference.

“We have to see. We have a [training] session at 5pm and we will see who will be involved. I hope for both.

“If they will not train, especially in Dejan’s case, that does not mean he cannot play. In Dejan’s case if he could train tonight [Tuesday] and tomorrow, that would be enough.

Dejan Lovren

“We have a few little things, Alberto [Moreno] had a cramp, Joe [Gomez] felt [something] a little bit. So we were really careful in the last few days.

“If a player is playing, then he must be at 100 per cent. I will speak to the medical department. I don’t think about rotation, I think about a 100 per cent spot-on team.”

Klopp also confirmed Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana are making good progress in their recovery from injury, although he does not expect either to return this week.

Mane has been out with a hamstring injury since the beginning of the month and England midfielder Lallana has yet to play this season after injuring his thigh in August.

“It looks good. Sadio had this morning a clearing session before he returns to training,” he said. “Now he’s not in the squad so [Wednesday] is a down day, then on Thursday he should be in training.

“Adam will be part of team training in the international break. Both of them are in a good way, but not good enough to involve them tomorrow or at West Ham.”

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Liverpool recorded an emphatic 7-0 win over Maribor in the reverse fixture and another win this week would put them in a strong position to qualify for the last 16.

But Klopp insists he will not take anything for granted, despite the easy nature of their meeting in Slovenia.

“I have had too many football games in my life to feel relaxed before a game like this. If we win it 1-0, I’m fine. We want three points, a clean sheet and a better position,” he added.


Coutinho a doubt for Klopp’s Wagner showdown

Jurgen Klopp has doubts over the fitness of Philippe Coutinho as he prepares to take Liverpool into battle against a Huddersfield Town outfit managed by former colleague David Wagner.

The German duo worked together at Borussia Dortmund and both left for English soil in 2015, with Klopp heading to Anfield and Wagner taking the helm at a Terriers team then residing in the Championship.

Liverpool 19/20 to beat Terriers to nil

He led the Yorkshire club to the Premier League last season, setting up Saturday’s showdown with close friend Klopp, who could be without Coutinho as the Brazilian struggles with an adductor problem.

“It’s not clear,” said the Reds boss, who oversaw a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham last time out, when questioned on Coutinho’s possible involvement. “Last week he had some back problems. During the week it settled with treatment. Now he has a problem with the abductor.

“We’ll make the decision after training on Friday. He missed training yesterday, but that’s all at the moment.”

Jurgen Klopp David Wagner

Klopp, whose position is beginning to come under sharper scrutiny after a return of just three wins from nine Premier League games, also offered a candid insight into his relationship with Wagner.

“I’ve said worse things to him than to any other person in the world and we’re still friends,” he said.

“I think it’s a special story. Our friendship will last for the rest of our lives, whatever happens in this game.

“But I want to win this game and that means we have to beat Huddersfield, that’s that. 

“I know him well enough to know he thinks exactly the same. Nothing we say in the game will rest a second longer in our mind after the final whistle.”

Huddersfield are fresh from a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester United, leaving them just one point shy of their hosts this weekend.

With that in mind, Klopp urged against complacency. 

“We take this really seriously. We have to defend better,” he said.

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“We need to be confident again, we need to be brave. Huddersfield defend well, good counter-attacking team – enjoying the Premier League.

“Against United they parked the bus and won the game. They will probably try to play the same way here.”


Plan B: Coutinho can fill in should Brazil lose Neymar – Tite

The Selecao boss says he is desperate to ensure his side can cope without the PSG man and insists he is proud of the team he has put together

Brazil coach TIte says he is determined to make sure Brazil can cope without Neymar should the PSG star be forced out of his starting line-up.

A Selecao had faced intense criticism for their reliance on Ney prior to Tite’s June 2016 arrival, infamously slumping to a 7-1 semi-final defeat when they lost him due to injury at World Cup 2014.

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And Tite says he will prepare a plan b should they lost their star player, with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho ready to shift across to the left side of the attack.

“Coutinho on the left side, and Willian on the right side, where both can produce even more,” Tite told SporTV.

Neymar Brasil Chile WC Qualifiers 2018 10102017

Liverpool’s Coutinho appears to have replaced Willian on the right in Tite’s preferred starting XI – the one change to the first-team since the coach’s arrival.

He went on to confirm that he had already settled on 75 per cent of the players who will form his World Cup squad and that he was proud of the team he’s put together since his arrival.

“I feel represented by the football played by the team,” he said. “The players are showing the characteristics we’ve installed and I am happy to watch the team play.

Seeção Brasil treino Tite 29 08 2017

“Do we need to improve? We do. Are there steps that still need to be taken? Yes. But I also have the courage: ‘I feel represented’. 

“If we’re going to win [the World Cup] or not, I do not know… but the performances so far should be a milestone and we will grow in relation to them.”

Tite will take his Brazil side to Europe in November for a Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header, as his team face Japan in France and England at Wembley Stadium, London.


Frustrated Coutinho annoyed by ‘preventable’ goals leaked against Tottenham

Philippe Coutinho believes that Liverpool were the architects of their own downfall in their 4-1 thrashing at Tottenham on Sunday.

Two goals from Harry Kane, as well as strikes from Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli, gave Spurs a comfortable victory over the Reds at Wembley, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side racing into a 2-0 lead within 13 minutes.

Liverpool 11/8 for top four finish

Coutinho, who has been tracked by Barcelona and is likely to again be a transfer target next summer , was frustrated with his side’s performance and insists that every one of Spurs’ goals were preventable.

“The goals were goals that could have been prevented,” he told ESPN Brasil .

“It started out wide and we end up conceding one of those goals the manager speaks about.

“He speaks a lot about this – we’ve conceded a lot of goals like this. And obviously in attack we were unable to score the goals necessary to draw or turn around the game.

“We were in the game during the first half then the goal we conceded made everything worse.”

Defender Dejan Lovren was substituted after half an hour, with many pinning the blame for Spurs’ first two goals on the Croatian.

Dele Alli Tottenham Liverpool Premier League

However, Coutinho believes it is not just the defence’s responsibility to keep a clean sheet.

“The first goal started in a wide position where everyone is involved in defending, not just the players right at the back,” he added.

“We have to improve this as quickly as possible in order to win games and fight more. With difficult games like this one, we know it’s these things that decide them.

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“So we need to concentrate more to deal with balls like this.

“The first goal was scored after four minutes and the second one after 12 or 13. It’s difficult to play away from home against a strong team when you start like that.

“We have to work hard. Those passages of play, those set pieces from wide positions. We have to concentrate more to deal with them.”


Klopp: Liverpool must make Coutinho and Can want to stay

Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can do enough to keep Philippe Coutinho, but insisted whether there was already an agreement in place for the attacker was unimportant.

Coutinho, 25, was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the off-season despite being contracted until 2022.

The Brazil international ended up staying at Anfield, with suggestions the star attacker would make the move at the end of the campaign.

However, Klopp said he was unsure, adding that it was insignificant so early in the season.

“I’ve no clue. We will see. We don’t talk about things like this. Can you imagine what it would be like if I said ‘yes we have an agreement’?” he said, via The Telegraph.

“In this moment, the 100 per cent truth is that nobody thinks about this. We don’t talk about it, why should we?

“In both cases it would not make sense – no, there is no agreement, yes, there is an agreement. It is not important in the moment.

“We have other moments when we have to talk about these things but not in October.”

Another player Liverpool may lose at season’s end is Emre Can, with the midfielder coming out of contract.

Klopp said it was up to his club to ensure the likes of Coutinho and Can wanted to stay.

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Coutinho 23/10 Anytime goalscorer v Spurs

“What I can say, in general as a club, and how I understand it, we have to still create a situation where players want to be part of it with all they have,” he said.

“In this moment, we have this. Nobody thinks about January, nobody thinks about June or July.”