Liverpool’s hopes of having Philippe Coutinho fit for the all-important clash against Manchester City have been dealt a big blow. The 24-year-old did pick up an injury against Sunderland at home and was expected to be fit for the clash on New Year’s Eve against the Citizens.
Multiple reports now suggest that the former Inter Milan player will not be available for selection against Pep Guardiola’s side. The clash at Anfield is expected to be one of the biggest matches of the season for the Reds and not having Coutinho in the side will certainly affect the chances of the side.
Liverpool did defeat Stoke City 4-1 after victories against Everton and Middlesbrough in recent weeks and will be confident of taking on a side that isn’t the best when it comes to defending.
The Reds also have the best attack in the Premier League and even without Coutinho, they are a tough team to play against. There were earlier reports suggesting that the Brazilian was fit and training with the first team but the 24-year-old might not be risked by Klopp as he looks to keep his side fresh for the upcoming games.
The German will be without Sadio Mane in the upcoming weeks as the Senegal star joins the national side for the African Cup of Nations and keeping Coutinho ready for this would be the key for the manager.
The Reds might have started the season impressively and even led the table but they have been usurped by an even more impressive Chelsea side that has recently won 12 games in succession. Antonio Conte certainly has worked wonders for the Blues but Klopp can take solace that he too has done a great job with the Reds.
The clash against City will be up against another side that is bent on attacking and will be the first time Klopp faces Guardiola in the Premier League. Liverpool are just a point ahead of Manchester City in second place and the winner of this game could be the closest competitors to Chelsea for the Premier League title.
Liverpool might also be without Joel Matip for the game against City. The Cameroon defender is still nursing an ankle injury and might not be risked by the manager. Fortunately for the Reds, Ragnar Klavan has done very well in the absence of the former Schalke man and Liverpool will hope that Klavan and Dejan Lovren can keep Sergio Aguero quiet during the game.