On air
  • RFI English Live
  • Latest Bulletin
  • RFI French Live

Sport Football England

Issued on • Modified

Klopp omits Coutinho from Liverpool squad for City clash

Philippe Coutinho wil miss Liverpool's match against Manchester City to aid his recovery from a back injury. Reuters/Carl Recine

Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho will be absent from Liverpool's squad for Saturday's match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on the eve of the clash that the 25-year-old midfielder's fitness was still in doubt despite two appearances as a substitute for Brazil during World Cup qualifiers over the past 10 days.

Coutinho was the subject of several bids from Barcelona following the departure of Neymar for Paris Saint-Germain. However Liverpoool rejected the advances of the Catalans.

"It was not the most easy time, but that is the transfer window," Klopp said. "It is not the first time and it won't be the last time in history when similar things will happen. I really think we handled it really well. Not all the things in newspapers were 100 percent right but it is normal a lot of things were coming up in a situation like this."

Klopp, whose side lie second in the Premier League after three games with seven points, added: "Nothing I am aware of was unforgivable. The most important thing is no one told me anything where I thought: 'Oh, that is too much.'"

Coutinho joined the Merseysiders in 2013 following three seasons with Inter Millan. He has not yet played for Liverpool this season, with the club citing a back injury. "He has done nothing unforgivable over the past few weeks. He came back from playing for Brazil and accepted 100 percent the situation," said Klopp. "I didn't even have to say anything about it.

"Before he went to Brazil he couldn't train for about three weeks so that means we need to try to prepare him for the rest of the season and that is quite difficult with our schedule."

Following the match in Manchester, Liverpool host Sevilla in the first game in the group stages of the Uefa Champions league on Wednesday. On 16 September in the Premier League, they entertain Burnley.

"I decided to leave him out of the squad for City so we can use these four or five days for proper training," Klopp added.