For what Liverpool adjudged as a minor thigh injury, Philippe Coutinho was dropped out of the squad which faced Burnley at the Turf Moor this evening in Liverpool’s first game of the new year.
A whopping seven changes were made to the starting XI for this fixture as Salah (minor groin injury) and Coutinho (sore thigh) missed out and Mignolet was given the captain’s armband despite performing poorly against Arsenal. But what caught everyone’s attention was Coutinho’s exclusion. The Brazilian is said to have been allowed to rest ahead of the Reds’ meeting with Merseyside neighbours Everton in the FA Cup later this week.
Jürgen Klopp on his selection: “Phil and Mo aren’t available, that’s why they are not in the squad. They’re both injured, it’s not too cool but that’s how it is.
The other changes are because we wanted to bring in fresh legs.”
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) January 1, 2018
His exclusion, however, has come in the midst of heavy speculations linking the 25-year-old with a move to Barcelona. These speculations were recently fueled by Barcelona’s kit manufacturers Nike after the American company advertised the club’s shirts with Philippe Coutinho’s name on the back. The advertisement read,
“Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona Kit with the magician’s name on it.”
Coutinho, who signed a five-year deal at the start of 2017, was a subject of numerous bids from the Catalans, with Liverpool rejecting £72m, £90m and one around £118m prior to the summer transfer deadline. Despite facing rejections, Barcelona made themselves very clear that they would return with a new offer in January while Coutinho, on his part, stated,
“I do not know how the future is going to be,” said Coutinho in early December. What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.”
Meanwhile, as things stand right now, Liverpool fans, despite the team winning against Burnley, went into a meltdown after Coutinho was dropped from the squad due to ‘sore thigh’:
Coutinho is on his way to the airport ahhh pic.twitter.com/Ga9KBRNK13
— T (@Kinglwobi) January 1, 2018
Phil’s gone then.
— Jessamine (@Jess7LFC) January 1, 2018
«Sore thigh» pic.twitter.com/Lf92DRMtX2
— Johannessen (@AtleJohannessen) January 1, 2018
“Sore thigh” pic.twitter.com/urDRaaA0HM
— Brendan Murphy (@BCM11) January 1, 2018
Sore thigh…. must have hurt it looking at the nike advert
— jonny knows (@JonnyOrourke86) January 1, 2018
Bye bye Coutinho
— Joey (@TammyBaebraham) January 1, 2018
Coutinho has Barca-itis again #LFC
— Darren Gahan (@dargahan) January 1, 2018
— Bravo 1 Niner (@Bravo1Niner) January 1, 2018
Where’s Courinho screw Barcelona, REDS for life I’m heartbroken
— ✨Becca Ritchie✨ (@beccaa_ritchie) January 1, 2018
Coutinho . Just kii me this week
— December_9_Born (@dettolah) January 1, 2018
Coutinho ‘sore thigh’. Transfer window opens again and surprise surprise Coutinho is injured.
— scott wyatt (@scottwyatt4) January 1, 2018
Phil thigh injury pic.twitter.com/xMfPcVowtn
— James Marsh [team] (@JMarsh1307) January 1, 2018
Transfer window opens and Coutinho’s injury starts. What a coincidence.
— Mondli Mashaya (@TheRealM4SH4Y4) January 1, 2018
— Tunde Tresh (@TundeTresh) January 1, 2018
He has “when a bigger team calls” injury
— thapelo (@mokhelethapelo) January 1, 2018