At his pre-match press conference earlier today, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp told reporters gathered at Melwood that it would be his strongest possible squad facing off against Southampton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening. Including almost certainly Philippe Coutinho.
The star Brazilian playmaker may not be ready for a start, but after nearly two months off, he’s fully fit. Now he needs game time to get the rest of the way there, and some solid minutes this week will help to get him up to speed with an eye on Liverpool’s league game against Manchester United on the 15th.
“All the rest are on the way back; all are close,” Klopp said when asked about Liverpool’s injured players, with Philippe Coutinho and Joël Matip the two major extended absentees. James Milner and Jordan Henderson, kept out of the starting lineup for precautionary reasons on Sunday, are likely to play.
The Liverpool manager noted Milner had “no issues” and that Henderson, after a brief rest to tend to his injured heel, was now “in a very good way.” A start for both is expected. For Coutinho, meanwhile, a bench role is likely, while Matip may be a little ways off still.
“Phil trained again, Joël it’s just his first steps in team training,” Klopp noted. “I think Phil is fit enough to be big part of the squad. It’s been seven weeks. He needs minutes in training; he needs minutes in games.”