Philippe Coutinho Reportedly Set for Arsenal Return

Stu Forster

A lengthy layoff for Philippe Coutinho is apparently set to come to an end next weekend when Liverpool travel to London to face Arsenal in an crucial Premier League matchup.

We've had a dearth of Philippe Coutinho news on the site of late, with the blame laid squarely at the feet of Ashely Williams and his cynical challenge on the diminutive Brazilian. His subsequent shoulder injury and reparative surgery have left him out since that mid-September matchup, and while we've heard check-ins regarding his recovery status, there hasn't been much news to report about when we'd be seeing back in the starting eleven.

That doesn't change completely today, but The Daily Mail's Dominic King--who's among the more reliable of the Mail's reporters--is apparently running with a story that Coutinho is set for a return to action two Saturdays from now when Liverpool visit Arsenal in North London. King has reportedly also asserted that Coutinho is finally returning to training with the club's physiotherapists, meaning that full first-team training shouldn't be too far off.

If accurate, it's undoubtedly positive news, but nothing that will have an immediate impact on the starting eleven. Brendan Rodgers does have plenty of important decisions to makeover the next few weeks, with concerns about how to have a functional midfield, how to accommodate Victor Moses wide, and who to pick in the back line among them. Coutinho's availability doesn't likely mean a start straightaway, though, with match fitness likely a ways off and a regular starting spot not necessarily on tap until after the November international break.

Once he's back back, the spot is his, of course. The prospect of him operating behind Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez is too good to pass up, and his presence in the squad forces Rodgers into a few decisions that will have an influence not only on the personnel, but on the team's shape as well. Or he just comes straight into the eleven in place of Moses and everything stays the same, in which case, you know, huh.

Whatever ends up happening, having Philippe Coutinho back and healthy is a wonderful prospect for Liverpool supporters, and hopefully we'll have something a bit more concrete to discuss in the coming days and weeks.

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