Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Philippe Coutinho will join the Reds’ squad that will line-up against Manchester City as Premier League football resumes this weekend, with the Brazilian lacking fitness after a disrupted pre-season.
Coutinho, who was willing to leave Anfield and join Barcelona ahead of last week’s transfer deadline, has not yet played this season due to a back problem.
As such, Klopp is not looking to push Coutinho too far and risk further injury. That’s despite the star playing and scoring for his country during the international break.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss has also been quick to deny any report that Coutinho being left out on Saturday is at all related to the transfer saga.
“It’s of course different because I know what people think, but Phil had the back problem a few weeks ago and couldn’t train so that means he missed around about three weeks,” Klopp explained as he addressed the media (LiverpoolFC.com).
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“Yes, he went to the national team and trained normally, but now we have to prepare for a normal season. We saw training [on Thursday] morning and thought ‘OK, maybe we should use him immediately’ because he was really good, but that doesn’t make sense,” the boss added.
“We have now to continue with the pre-season, not too long, but in a few sessions we have to give ourselves the time because in the next month we have seven games.
“We always have the same decision to make, ‘does he need training or can he play?’ and all that stuff. Yes, he will now do a little bit more than the other boys but he showed up in a very, very good mood and looks really promising.”