Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Philippe Coutinho is “in a good way” but is still not yet fit enough to play a part in Liverpool’s New Year’s Eve clash with Manchester City.
The Reds have been without their influential Brazilian midfielder since he sustained an ankle injury against Sunderland at Anfield on November 26.
Coutinho was expected to be in the frame to feature in the meeting with Premier League title rivals City on Saturday, but Klopp does not expect to have him back until the visit of Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on January 8.
The Brazil playmaker, 24, has missed six games with an injury picked up in November’s win over Sunderland. “The City game is too early and I’m pretty sure the Sunderland match on Monday is too early too,” Klopp said.
The Reds manager also confirmed that defender Joel Matip will miss the City game with an ankle injury. The title rivals meet at Anfield on Saturday (17:30 GMT), with second-placed Liverpool one point above City in the Premier League.
Klopp said: “We love playing the best and they are in the groove of one of the best teams in the world. “This is a very big game for both teams. Six clubs fight for four or one positions. Each game is kind of a final. If I wasn’t sitting on the bench, I would buy a ticket for the game 100%.”
Klopp was asked about the fact he has not been to Etihad Stadium to watch City. “I can see better from home rather than always standing up for selfies in the ground,” said the German. He also praised City boss Pep Guardiola, his former Bundesliga managerial rival.
“Our teams are completely different from when Dortmund and Bayern played each other,” he continued. “We know everything about how Pep played with Bayern but that is not important any more because it is different players and different systems.
He was very nearly perfect with Barcelona. He had a big influence with Bayern and changed their style completely.
Klopp denied newspaper reports suggesting Liverpool could sign Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23. “Usually I don’t say anything about transfers but I will make an exception. Nonsense,” he said.