Coutinho and Lucas return to Liverpool squad before West Brom clash
Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is nearing his return to action. Reports suggest that Coutinho will be back in the squad before Liverpool’s important meeting with Arsenal on November 2.
Coutinho has been out of action since September 16 because of surgery after picking up a shoulder injury. The 21-year-old injured his soldier in a 2-2 draw against Swansea City soon after the Premier League started.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists it would be early to see Coutinho on the pitch against West Bromwich Albion this Saturday at Anfield, but the Brazilian is back in training and is looking forward to returning to the first-team.
“He might just be short for this weekend,” Rodgers said. “You always miss quality. He’s rejoined the training group. Philippe’s joined in with the team on a non-contact basis, and I would think after the weekend, he’ll be fine.
“He’s got really good strength in his shoulder now, so it’s a case of getting him up to speed in training with the group. But he’s been in the last couple of days and he’s looked brilliant.
“It’s like he’s never been away, with the flow and fluency he is showing with the ball. His work has been excellent. It’s great to see him back in and it’s another quality player back for us.”
Coutinho will be absent from the Liverpool squad, but Lucas Leiva will return for the Reds this Saturday. The Brazilian midfielder missed the 2-2 draw against Newcastle United since he had just become a father.
“He was in the hospital for a couple of days and could have been available, but sometimes that can be a risk,” Rodgers said.
“If you have lots of travel and lots of stress, mentally and physically in the body, sometimes you can go out there and injure yourself.
“But he’s back in and has trained really well this week. He’ll be back available in the squad.”
Rodgers is looking for Daniel Sturridge to continue with his brilliant form in front of the sticks against West Bromwich Albion. The 24-year-old England international has been in deadly goalscoring form this season.
Former Liverpool forward Ian Rush suggests Sturridge might hit the 30-goal mark this season if he continues with his stunning form. Rodgers has such faith in Sturridge as well. The Anfield boss also believes Sturridge has the potential to become one of the best strikers in Europe over the next couple of years.
“I don’t set Daniel a goal target. I think he’s a natural goalscorer. It’s just about him understanding his role in the team with the ball -- and the intensity we need without the ball too, which is important,” Rodgers said.
“I firmly believe that he can be one of the top strikers in European football over the next two to three years, as long as he continues to work hard.”