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Klopp: Coutinho Not 100% for Manchester United

Although Liverpool’s star player won't be completely match fit against Manchester United, Klopp will do everything to get Coutinho up to speed.

Liverpool Training Session Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

As Sadio Mané leaves, Philippe Coutinho returns. The Brazilian star is likely to feature in the matchday squad against Southampton as Liverpool bid for a second successive appearance in the EFL Cup final. Then there's the matter of a trip to Old Trafford where José Mourinho’s in-form Manchester United are waiting. Jürgen Klopp acknowledged that despite Coutinho being available for selection, the 24-year may not be completely match-fit.

“The time is not long enough for him to be 100% for Manchester United but he could play,” Klopp said. “We have spoken before about there being a difference between being fit and being match-fit but of course it’s Phil, so we want to try everything we can to bring him as close as possible to his 100%.

“In this moment I would say it makes sense for him to be involved against Southampton, in the squad, and we will see what happens there – whether we have to use him or not or whatever. If not, we have another three days to prepare him for United. A few minutes for him does make sense. We will see if he’s ready tomorrow and on Wednesday morning. Then we will make the decision.”

Coutinho has the ability to make a difference in a matter of moments, and so, his availability should be a considerable boost for Liverpool in what is another busy month. It wouldn't be wise to rush him back too soon after just four training sessions with the first-team squad, but with Manè on African Cup of Nations duty, Liverpool lack attacking options on the left and right of the front three. Still, a Coutinho rising from the bench for a cameo is better than no Coutinho at all.