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Coutinho Targeting New Year's Eve Return from Injury

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The Brazilian international could return to action before just before New Year’s Day.

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Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In case you didn't know, the last day of the year features a clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. Sergio Agüero will return for the visitors after a four-match ban for his second dismissal for violent conduct. Liverpool talisman Philippe Coutinho is aiming to make a return in the same game to give his side a much-needed boost after injuring his ankle against Sunderland.

"This is still my hope - to return for this game," Coutinho told Liverpool’s official site. "The rehab is going really well. I can now walk without crutches and I am working well with the medical team. So I'm pleased with how I am recovering."

Like the rest of us, Coutinho was worried when he saw pictures of the injury after the 2-0 victory. Thankfully, the injury wasn't as bad as it looked.

"Straight after the game, when I first saw the pictures and videos of my injury, I was a little scared," he revealed. "But after the scans, of course it was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I am happy, as it could have been a lot worse."

If Liverpool’s number ten does make it back for the Premier League game against Pep Guardiola’s side, he’d be back ahead of schedule after a presumed six to eight week injury lay-off. The 24-year-old has been in inspiring form this season with five goals and five assists in 13 appearances that translates to goal involvement every 96.7 minutes.

While his productivity has been impressive, the Brazilian international often plays the role of conductor and breaker of defensive chains. Still, Liverpool’s star player remains positive despite recent setbacks against Bournemouth and West Ham.

"Obviously I have been very frustrated, because like any player who is injured, it is tough to watch rather than play and help the team," he added. "The last game was a draw and not the result we wanted, but the team still has great quality and I am certain in the next game we will come back stronger."