Jürgen Klopp provided a squad fitness update during his customary press conference at Melwood this morning and there’s good news for Coutinho.
Liverpool’s third last game of the season is at home against Southampton on Sunday. The Saints have had the rub of the green against the Reds this season, winning twice and drawing once.
Sunday presents an opportunity for Liverpool to both take a firm grip on a place in the top four and exact revenge on a side that expelled them from the EFL Cup in January.
In his usually cheery mood, Klopp answered journalists’ questions regarding the fitness of his side, with particular interest being paid to Philippe Coutinho’s eligibility for Sunday – the Brazilian suffered a painful dead leg against Watford last time out.
Many supporters and journalists had fears this week that Coutinho would miss the game against Southampton if his thigh injury from Monday developed into something more serious but Klopp allayed those fears this morning.
He told reporters at Melwood, “Phil yesterday was running for the first time – he looked a little bit like John Achterberg, but it’s good news!
“We cannot be 100 per cent sure because we always have to wait to see how he improves, but in this moment, it looks rather positive.“
Having Coutinho back on Sunday will be a major boost to Liverpool, who struggled to invent real chances in his absence. The Brazilian was today announced as the Liverpool Player of the Month for April with four goals and an assist in six games.
Mané, who suffered a knee injury during the Merseyside derby, will miss the rest of the season but is progressing well. The same applies to Danny Ings who has missed the entire season after a terrible knee injury sustained against Spurs during the EFL Cup in October.
As far as Henderson is concerned, there is nothing new to report – which is alarming in itself.
On these three, Klopp said, “Mané is doing really well but there is no chance [for Southampton]. He is around [Melwood] and everything has really went well so far.
“It’s not exactly the same with Hendo; there is nothing new. That’s the thing with this [injury], you have to wait – especially he has to wait, but it is quite difficult like this. So there is nothing new about this.
“Ingsy is doing well, really well. He is enjoying training now for the first time with the ball a little bit and all that stuff. He is on a good way.”
It’s crucial that Klopp’s side wins against Southampton on Sunday with Arsenal and Manchester United playing later in the day. It’s an opportunity to further stamp their authority on the top four.