Liverpool travel to Manchester City for a crunch Premier League clash but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he will not be risking star midfielder Philippe Coutinho for the tie at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
“Phil came back the day before yesterday, but like Roberto (Firmino), we sent them immediately home to get a few hours of sleep. We tried everything to organise as good as possible, as comfortable as possible, which is quite difficult in a week like this,” Klopp said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.
Barcelona had several bids rejected by Liverpool for the wantaway midfielder, who had set his heart on a move to Spain but the Reds held firm and kept a hold of the 25-year-old beyond the transfer deadline.
Coutinho’s ‘back’ injury had kept him from playing any part in the opening three Premier League games and the double-legged Champions League tie against Hoffenheim.
But, his participation for the Brazilian national side during the international break raised doubts about the authenticity of the complaint and it seems Klopp deemed it all bridge under the water and was eager to move on.
“Yesterday he was in and we had a very good talk, he was in a very good mood and his training was even better,” Klopp stressed as he explained his decision to drop the Brazilian for Saturday’s clash.
“I decided to leave him out of the squad for City so we can use these four or five days for real and proper training,” he added.
“And by the way, he agreed completely; it was not that he said ‘No, I don’t need training, I want to play’ or whatever. It was a good conversation,” Klopp said.
Fourth-placed Manchester City, their opponents for Saturday, are level on points with the Reds and their clash is the highlight of the Premier League weekend.