Philippe Coutinho returned to the Merseyside “fit and healthy” according to Jurgen Klopp after joining his team mates in training on Thursday after World Cup qualifiers with Brazil.
The Reds welcome back the 25-year-old midfielder after a move to Barcelona failed materialize as Liverpool stood firm on their ‘not for sale’ tag.
Despite his classy performance for the Selecao, Klopp is wary of throwing the player back into action too soon.
During a wide-ranging interview with Liverpoolfc.com at Melwood on Thursday, Klopp was asked about the condition of Coutinho and Roberto Firmino following their lengthy journey back to Merseyside.
“Roberto played in the second game a little bit longer, but both are fit so that’s cool, they’re healthy so now we have to see.
“All good,” Klopp remarked when quizzed on his relationship with Coutinho. “Nothing else to say, actually, so he’s back and we had a really good conversation”
“It’s a little bit different. Roberto played in the second game a little bit longer, but both are fit so that’s cool, they’re healthy so now we have to see.”
“It’s of course different because Phil, I know what people think, but Phil had the back problem a few weeks ago and couldn’t train so that means he missed around about three weeks.
“Yes, he went to the national team and trained normally, but now we have to prepare for a normal season so we have seven games [before the next international break] and we saw training this morning and thought ‘OK, maybe we should use him immediately’ because he was really good, but that doesn’t make sense.”
Klopp has circled a run of games against Manchester City, Sevilla, Burnley, back-to-back games with Leicester (including the Carabao Cup), before a Champions League game with Spartak Moscow and finally another league game versus Newcastle.
Without a natural rest period, Klopp wants to be very careful with Coutinho in order to preserve him for the remainder of the campaign because keeping him fit will be very crucial for Liverpool this campaign.
“We have now to continue with the pre-season, not too long, but in a few sessions we have to give ourselves the time because in the next month we have seven games.
“We always have the same decision to make, ‘does he need training or can he play?’ and all that stuff. Yes, he will now do a little bit more than the other boys but he showed up in a very, very good mood and looks really promising.”