Football

Klopp: Coutinho ready for Liverpool start

EPL
LIVERPOOL BURNLEY

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is ready to start for the first time this season when they host Burnley in the Premier League tonight, manager Juergen Klopp said yesterday.

After failing to complete a move to Barcelona in the transfer window, the Brazilian was back in action from the bench during Liverpool's 2-2 Champions League draw with Sevilla at Anfield on Wednesday.

"You can build up, you can get minutes when you start. It's not the moment I talk about the line-up of tomorrow, but he should be ready," Klopp said yesterday.

"I was really happy with how the crowd welcomed him.

"For him, it was good. For sure, we're ready to think about him (playing Burnley).

"He has trained outstandingly since he's back.

"The (Sevilla) game was not perfect, of course, but it helped him and helped us."

With Sadio Mane out of action following his red card against Manchester City, Klopp is considering Coutinho or new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a temporary solution on the left wing.

"It's always difficult to replace top-class players, but we did it well towards the end of last season (when Mane was out)," Klopp added.

"We knew there would be moments when Sadio wouldn't play.

"That's why we built the squad. Roberto (Firmino), Phil and Alex can play on the left.

"We can change the system. We can do a lot of things."

Klopp confirmed that forward Danny Ings has returned to training after recovering from a knee injury, but midfielder Adam Lallana and full back Nathaniel Clyne remain on the sidelines.

Burnley have beaten Chelsea and Crystal Palace in their first four league games of the season.

Meanwhile, Mane regrets injuring Man City goalkeeper Ederson, but will not change his playing style despite being sent off for the challenge which also resulted in a three-match ban.

"I think the next time I will get the ball before him, I will do my best," Mane told British media on Thursday.

"My intention was not to hurt the goalkeeper. It was bad and I wish him the recovery to come back healthy. I am happy for him that he could play again and help his team," he said.

"I think it was a challenge for the ball. I made contact and it was not what I wanted to do so I apologised to him.

"It is part of football and I cannot change anything."

Mane is looking forward to watching Coutinho play for Liverpool again.

"It is always nice to welcome him back because he is one of our best players," Mane said.

"He will not only help my game, but I think he is a very important player for Liverpool and he will help us to get better and better." - REUTERS

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