Philippe Coutinho to be out for up to six weeks
Liverpool attacker will miss matches against Everton and Manchester City
Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho holds his foot after his injury against Sunderland. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool will be without Philippe Coutinho until the new year after scans confirmed he faces six weeks out with ankle ligament damage.
The influential Brazil international was taken from the pitch on a stretcher after an accidental collision with Didier Ndong during Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday and was assessed at Spire Hospital yesterday. As Liverpool had suspected following assessments by their medical staff at Melwood, the scans revealed ligament damage that will sideline the 24-year-old for up to six weeks but will not require surgery.
Coutinho has enjoyed an outstanding campaign so far and been instrumental in Liverpool’s Premier League ascent. Jürgen Klopp’s team are currently second, only one point behind Chelsea having played Antonio Conte’s leaders, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur away from home this season, but expect to be missing their most creative outlet for the next seven league matches.
Liverpool play Bournemouth, West Ham United, Middlesbrough, Everton, Stoke City, Manchester City and Sunderland before Coutinho’s targeted return date of January 7th/8th, the FA Cup third-round weekend. Klopp’s side visit Manchester United in the Premier League on January 15th.
While Liverpool’s manager may take slight comfort in the news Coutinho is not facing a three-month absence or an operation, the loss of the Brazilian represents an untimely setback ahead of the demanding festive period.
Klopp is again expected to be without Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge for the League Cup quarter-final against Leeds United on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino is doubtful with a calf problem but Divock Origi, Coutinho’s replacement against Sunderland, made an impressive impact against David Moyes’ team on Saturday.
Klopp insists the quarter-final against Leeds is no time to take risks with his selection despite injuries beginning to mount.
The Liverpool manager made 11 changes in the last round against Tottenham but the only change he would confirm he would be making was goalkeeper Simon Mignolet coming in for Loris Karius.
“When you are in the rhythm it is different but we are not in this rhythm. You need to listen to the players and figure out if they are ready or not.
“It is not allowed to take any risks. It is about having a line-up which can stand the intensity of the game because Leeds are in a really good moment.
“They are a football-playing side and they will force us into a lot of things so we need to work hard in these games so the players need to be fit for this.
“We don’t want to rest somebody who doesn’t need a rest. It is possible we make a few changes; it is possible we will play nearly the same team.
“For sure, if nothing happens, Simon (Mignolet) will play.”