Coutinho limps off for Liverpool… but Klopp still leaves Benteke on the bench

The Brazilian could miss games against Arsenal and Manchester United, with the injuries suffered by him and Dejan Lovren meaning the Reds currently have 10 players sidelined

Liverpool have been dealt another injury blow after Philippe Coutinho was forced to limp out of the Reds’ League Cup semi-final first leg clash against Stoke City.

The Brazil international seemed to hurt his hamstring when looking to deliver a cross into the box at the Britannia Stadium and was replaced by Jordon Ibe after just 18 minutes, with the latter going on to score the opening goal of the game.

Liverpool had made a flying start to the match, laying siege to Stoke’s goal early in the contest, with Coutinho involved in much of that early endeavour.

But after receiving treatment on the back of his thigh, Coutinho eventually decided he was unable to continue and hobbled off the pitch.

Manager Jurgen Klopp could have turned to Christian Benteke – who scored match-winning goals in back-to-back games over the Christmas period but was dropped for Tuesday’s match – but opted instead for Ibe.

GOALREAD MORE  | Klopp reveals Sturridge setback

The decision will create further question marks over Benteke’s long-term future at Anfield under Klopp, with the Belgian previously having been overlooked in favour of injured countryman Divock Origi.

Coutinho’s injury, coupled with that of Dejan Lovren – who, incredibly, went off with a hamstring problem 15 minutes after Coutinho – means Liverpool now have 10 players sidelined, the joint-most of Premier League clubs alongside Newcastle.

The Brazilian is almost certain to miss Liverpool’s next match on Friday evening away to Exeter in the FA Cup Third Round, while his involvement in matches against Arsenal and Manchester United is also in doubt.

Lucas expects Coutinho to stay at Liverpool

The Brazilian believes his compatriot will think twice about leaving Anfield due to the lack of first-team minutes he received at Inter before joining the Reds in 2013

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva insists  Philippe Coutinho is happy at Anfield and expects him to stay at the club for the foreseeable future.

Coutinho has consistently impressed since joining Liverpool from Inter in January 2013 and has recently been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

But Lucas believes his compatriot, who is under contract until 2020, will think twice before seeking a move to another club due to his experience in Italy.

GOAL READ MORE   Benteke delighted with win after difficult period

“I think we can hang on to Coutinho,” Lucas told the Daily Mail. “The one thing I know [is] he is very happy here.

“He was at Inter and it didn’t work for him, but he has found his feet here and he feels that people like him. He considers that>

Liverpool must fight for trophies – Coutinho

The Brazil international wants to mark his progress at Anfield and repay Liverpool’s faith in him by helping the Reds to a trophy

Liverpool have an excellent opportunity to end their wait for silverware this season, according to Philippe Coutinho.

The five-time European champions have not won a trophy since claiming the League Cup in 2012 after a penalty shootout against Cardiff City.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are into the knockout phase of the Europa League, have reached the last four of the League Cup and face League Two Exeter City in the FA Cup third round.

And Coutinho, who has been in fine form during the first half of the season, wants to cap his progress at Anfield with a first winners’ medal.

“We’re in a very good position. It’s the goal of everyone involved, we’re all focused on fighting for the trophies and I think we have a great chance in the competitions we’re in this year,” he told the club’s official website.

“We’re going to fight for that and I hope we win a trophy this year.

“[I’ve had] three wonderful years. As I’ve said, in the beginning I was given a very warm welcome, from the fans, the team, everyone who works here at the club.

“So I’m very grateful to the club, and now I hope to be able to help the team win trophies, it’s very important to keep battling.

“We learn little by little. When you arrive here, the football is very different, the style of play, it’s more intense, you use your body more, it’s faster.

“These things I think I’ve improved on since I arrived, as I came from a different style of football, and I hope I can continue to improve.”

Coutinho thrilled to be back after 'awful' injury absence

The Brazil international was frustrated at being sidelined with a hamstring injury and has praised the supporters for the atmosphere during the Europa League draw with Sion

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho is thrilled to be back in action after missing four matches with a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old suffered the problem in November’s 4-1 win at Manchester City, in which he scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season.

After making his comeback in Liverpool’s last two matches, the former Inter player revealed how hard he finds it to be on the sidelines.

“I am feeling much better. I am training and available for selection. It is the best thing, because to be out injured is very difficult – it is awful,” Coutinho told the club’s official website.

“Of course, we love playing football and when we are available for selection, it is the best thing. I am feeling good and I hope I can help the team out in the best possible way.”

The Brazil playmaker made his return as a substitute against Sion in the Europa League before starting Sunday’s dramatic 2-2 draw with West Brom at Anfield, where he was impressed by Liverpool’s desire.

Coutinho added: “We didn’t give up at any time. It was a very difficult game against a team that sat back and the atmosphere inside the ground was amazing.

“The supporters were urging us on, so the goal was very important and we were satisfied given the way things were going. The fans are there supporting us and that’s really important, as I have said before.

“We hope it will be like it was in the last game until the end of the season, everyone united, so we can achieve positive results in the league.”

Coutinho can be world's best if he stays at Liverpool – Lucio

The defender believes his countryman has the potential to become one of football’s greats and urged the playmaker to remain at Anfield

Philippe Coutinho can become the best player in the world – if he remains at Liverpool, according to former team-mate Lucio.

The Brazil international has become Jurgen Klopp’s centric playmaker with a number of scintillating performances since the German took charge at Anfield.

Fellow countryman Lucio, who played alongside the Reds star at Inter between 2009 and 2012, believes Coutinho has the ability to be the world’s very best and credits himself for the 23-year-old’s professionalism.

“I am very happy that he is having success at Liverpool,” Lucio told Sky Sports

GOAL READ MORE   Tuchel keen to avoid Klopp until Europa League final 

“There is potential to be the best player in the world, of that there is no doubt. But it will depend on what happens around him. He is only going to get better.

“When he was at Inter, he wasn’t playing and we got closer, and lived nearby to each other.

“My family got to know his family, and gave all our support, and we helped him achieve what he has with that support. Everything that he is doing now is down to his marriage and family. His attitude is perfect.”

Coutinho, who joined Liverpool for £8.5 million in 2013, has been linked with Barcelona in recent months.

However, Lucio says the attacker must turn down Camp Nou and remain on Merseyside, and expects Coutinho to prosper further under Klopp’s tutelage.

“I think that is a personal decision for him. Barcelona have a lot of great players –  that could leave him in the shadows,” Lucio added.

“Liverpool is the right place for him to become the best. He has his space, and can play where he wants.”

Coutinho travels to Sion but Ibe out with illness

The Brazilian has missed four games due to a hamstring problem but is back in contention for the final group game in the competition, while the winger has a cold

Philippe Coutinho is part of Liverpool’s travelling squad for the Europa League clash in Sion, but Jordon Ibe is left out due to illness.

The Brazilian playmaker has missed the past four games due to a hamstring problem, but took part in training on Wednesday and is now available again.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to be out for weeks due to the same complaint, but captain Jordan Henderson is on the flight to Switzerland.

Lucas, Alberto Moreno and Joe Allen have stayed on Merseyside, as Jurgen Klopp has decided to rest the trio.

The squad is otherwise full-strength. Connor Randall and Ryan Fulton, who have both signed new contracts with the club on Wednesday, are part of the party along with Brad Smith.

Liverpool top Group B, and are a point ahead of their hosts. The Reds have already qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Henderson & Sturridge to feature for Liverpool – but Coutinho remains a doubt

The England pair will both be options at St Mary’s for the Reds boss, who is leaving it late to decide whether the Brazilian playmaker will also make the trip

GOALBy Melissa Reddy

Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson are both set to feature for Liverpool’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Southampton on Wednesday, but Philippe Coutinho remains a doubt.

Henderson and Sturridge, who both returned to action as substitutes in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Swansea, are set to travel to St Mary’s, but are likely to be options off the bench rather than candidates to start.

“They have had no physical reaction [after Sunday’s game]. It’s good news and they did their job,” Klopp explained at his press briefing at Melwood.

“That was good and important for us. They helped us keep the result, which was not easy – especially for Jordan in his position.

“Daniel did what we spoke about before, that he should be our target for winning balls, once we got the ball be an option, the first option. That’s what he did; everybody could see his quality in a few moments. It was good for us.

“Now the problem with the Southampton game is we cannot ignore that it could be extra-time. I’m sure 120 minutes would be too much for both.

“We don’t have to think about starting, we cannot go into a game and know we have to change these two players for sure.

“But if nothing happens from now until the plane has started, they’ll join us and be in the squad and we again have these two options.”

GOALREAD MORE Klopp: It’s normal to have Gerrard at Liverpool

Coutinho, meanwhile, will require a late fitness check as Klopp is loathe to unnecessarily risk him.

“I cannot make decisions in this moment because we have another training [session] today,” explained the Reds boss.

“At the end, we have to talk about everything again with the medical department and talk to Phil. It will be close, possible, but we have to check and double check the situation and then we’ll make a decision. We have to wait.”

Klopp detailed the factors involved in selecting his best 11. “The strongest team depends on your situation – how much they played in the last few days,” he said.

“We can’t ignore the last two games and we can’t ignore the next game, that’s the situation.

“Usually you need a completely full squad in the best space; for this, in an ideal world, you need six angry players who are not in the squad. That’s not our situation and we have to think about it.

“It’s a puzzle but at the end it will be the strongest team, for sure.”

Liverpool are looking to make it four wins on the spin and take a step closer to silverware before they travel to Newcastle in the league on Sunday.

Klopp to play 'strongest team' in League Cup

The German manager believes he lacks the squad depth to rest key players for the trip to Southampton on Wednesday and hopes Philippe Coutinho will be fit to return

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he will play his strongest team in Wednesday’s League Cup encounter against Southampton as he believes the Reds lack the squad depth to rest key players.

Klopp’s men travel to St Mary’s looking to earn a place in the competition’s semi-finals and the German admitted he does not have a group of players on the fringes of the first team desperate to make an impact.

“In an ideal world, you need six angry players who are not in the squad, but that’s not our situation,” he told reporters. “It will be a puzzle, but it will be the strongest team, for sure.

“The biggest fault you can make is to think about the next round. Our focus is on Southampton only. They’re pretty hot on this game, they’ve lost their last two games and they want to bounce back.

“If we want to go through we have to fight. I knew Southampton from before. They’re a good team, brilliant offensively. [Dusan] Tadic is difficult to play against.

“We’re still far away from the final. I’m excited and looking forward to the game, but you have to respect the situation.”

GOALREAD MORE Klopp rules out Butland bid

Philippe Coutinho could return after a hamstring injury for Liverpool, who welcomed captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge back against Swansea City on Sunday.

“I can’t make a decision about Coutinho right now because we haven’t trained yet,” Klopp added. “But he will be close to being ready. It’s possible that he will play.

“The return of Sturridge and Henderson was good news. They did their job, which was important for us to keep the result. It was not easy.

“Daniel did what we spoke about before. He should be our target for winning balls, be the first option. That’s what he did. Everyone could see Sturridge’s quality.

“We cannot ignore that this game could have overtime, 120 minutes would be too much for both. But if nothing happens from now, they will be in the squad. We have these two options.”

Klopp reveals Coutinho is 'ready for Southampton'

The Brazilian should return to action at St Mary’s Stadium after a minor hamstring injury, boosting the Reds’ chances of a fourth successive win under the manager

GOALBy Melissa Reddy

Jurgen Klopp expects the talents of Philippe Coutinho to be on display when Liverpool travel to face Southampton in the League Cup quarter-final.

The Reds will tackle Ronald Koeman’s men on Wednesday, and Klopp is expecting the Brazilian – who has netted four times in his last three appearances – to be available for the encounter.

Coutinho picked up a minor hamstring problem in the 4-1 win over Manchester City, and sat out Liverpool’s Europa League victory over Bordeaux as a precaution.

GOALREAD MORE Klopp: More to come from Firmino

He was also not in the matchday squad as Klopp secured his first Premier League triumph at home, with Swansea overcome 1-0 on Sunday evening.

However, the Reds boss revealed that Coutinho has been training well, and Liverpool took a safety-first approach with him.

“Philippe had a very intensive session yesterday, but we decided two or three days ago that we didn’t want to risk [him] for this game,” said Klopp.

“Now I think he’s fit. I saw him in the dressing room and he looks good. I’ll have to talk with him tomorrow – I think he’s ready for Southampton.”

The Anfield outfit will be looking for their fourth consecutive win in all competitions when they take on the Saints at St Mary’s Stadium.

Neymar, Coutinho & Thiago Silva – The Brazil stars who made the Goal 50

The Selecao trio were named among the greatest players on the planet in 2015 as Lionel Messi claimed the prestigious award for the fourth time since its inception in 2008

Three Brazil internationals have made the prestigious Goal 50 list.

Barcelona star Neymar, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva were among those named by Goal as the world’s 50 greatest players based on their performances over the past 12 months.

Chief editors and correspondents from Goal’s 37 editions around the world all cast their votes, with candidates judged on their level of consistency over the previous year of action, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their teams at both club and international level.

On Friday Goal announced that Lionel Messi had claimed the title for the fourth title.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award since its inception in 2008, claiming seven titles between them, with only Wesley Sneijder breaking their duopoly on the award after claiming the title in 2010 when he inspired Inter to Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League triumph.


Neymar was named captain of Brazil following the appointment of coach Dunga in July 2014 and has inspired the side to 6 consecutive Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour victories over the calendar year.

He has also starred for Barcelona, helping form the devastating attacking trident with Messi and Luis Suarez that scored a staggering 122 goals last season as the Catalans claimed a famous treble.

The 23-year-old made history in June as he became the first player to score in both quarter-finals, both semi-finals and final of the Champions League as Barca claimed their fifth European crown.

The former Santos man also joined an elite list of players to have lifted both the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League while becoming the first player to net for the winning team in the finals of both competitions.


After initially cementing a place in the Brazil squad as a Dunga favourite during the coach’s first 12 months in charge, the Liverpool man has been in and out of the international setup in recent months.

But his inspired form for Liverpool, particularly since the arrival at Anfield of new coach Jurgen Klopp, will likely see him return to the Selecao before too long.

Named as the Reds’ Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year last season, he was also named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year as he made over 50 appearances for his club, convincing former Brazil great Ronaldinho that he will soon be mentioned among the best players in the game.

And after a stuttering start for the club this season, he has rediscovered his sensational form in recent weeks and will hopeful of returning to the Selecao as World Cup qualification resumed in March next year.


Thiago Silva has once again been in inspired form for PSG, leading the French giants to a domestic treble last term as captain.

A consummate leader both on and off the field, his cool head and flawless defensive displays ensured Laurent Blanc’s side conceded less than a goal a game in Ligue 1 last season.

He appears to face an uphill struggle to return to the national team but there were fresh calls from the local media to hand him an international reprieve following November’s 1-1 draw with Argentina in Buenos Aires.

And with David Luiz suspended after receiving a red card in that game, the former Fluminense and Milan man will be hopeful that he will once again hear Dunga read his name ahead of March’s clash with Uruguay.