Want-away Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been left out of the squad for Saturday’s clash against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium, reports BBC Sport.
The 25-year-old Brazilian playmaker who has made over 138 appearances for the Reds since joining them in 2013, is yet to make an appearance for them this season due to a back injury.
And having returned from playing for his country in their two World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia, where he made two appearances off the bench, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp decided that the playmaker would be better served doing some extra training.
Klopp said during a press conference ahead of the eagerly awaited clash:
“I decided to leave him out of the squad for City so we can use the extra time for training. He agreed”.
The club have turned down three offers for the Rio-born star from Spanish giants Barcelona, with the last one a whopping £118 million, after the Catalonian club having identified Coutinho as their main transfer target.
This despite the fact that the former Vasco da Gama star had handed in a transfer request and made his desire to leave abundantly clear.
Adding that he was satisfied with the performance stats he had received from the Brazilian FA about the man who has been dubbed “the little magician” by Liverpool fans, he admitted that Coutinho could have played some part in Saturday’s game.
“We have got all the numbers on (Coutinho) from the Brazilian FA – the training intensity, the intensity of the training, stuff like that, and it was all ok. And he played twice. I think 15 or 20 minutes.
“He could have played 15, 20 minutes again in the City game – maybe longer”.
But reiterating his belief that resting him for a little longer would be best the plan of action, he added:
“But I think it really makes sense (to leave him out)”.
Klopp’s men, who lie in second place in the table with seven points, having picked up two wins and a draw, will be looking to continue their impressive start to the season against a City side who lie two places below them in fourth place.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The Mixer, Pundit Arena’s Irish football podcast, where we reflect on a disappointing week for the Republic of Ireland.
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