Philippe Coutinho’s ankle isn’t broken, but that’s the extent of any good news following results of his scan today, which confirmed the Brazilian had suffered ligament damage from his clash with Sunderland’s Ibrahim Ndong during Saturday’s match at Anfield.
He is expected to miss six to eight weeks as a result, meaning that a return is unlikely until the end of January. If his recovery is especially rapid and without complication, there’s a chance he could be back around when Sadio Mané departs for the AFCON mid-month.
At a minimum, Coutinho will miss Bournemouth, West Ham, Middlesborough, Everton, Stoke City, and Manchester City in December plus the return league games against Sunderland and Manchester United in the new year. It is a significant blow for player and club.
Combined with Mané’s subsequent AFCON departure, it means Liverpool will be without Jürgen Klopp’s first choice eleven until at least the middle of February, and it could push the club into the transfer market for attacking reinforcements in January.
In the meantime, it will likely mean a far larger role for Divock Origi. Daniel Sturridge, if he can recover from his latest injury setback, could also be in line for increased minutes in the coming months.