Klopp says Coutinho can be the Mane man
Liverpool v Burnley
Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is ready to start against Burnley and fill the void left by the suspension of Sadio Mane.
The Senegal forward is about to start a three-match ban for his red card in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City and Coutinho would appear to be the ideal fit to replace him, having operated in that same left-sided role for most of last season.
The Brazil international has been eased into the first-team picture after missing the start of the campaign with a back injury, but made his comeback with a 15-minute cameo in the Champions League draw with Sevilla on Wednesday.
Although the 25-year-old showed obvious signs of rustiness the visit of the Clarets provides an opening and offers Coutinho a chance to rekindle his love affair with the Kop after handing in a transfer request a month ago in an attempt to force a move to Barcelona.
“He should be ready (to start),” Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said.
“It was really nice how the crowd welcomed him – no one was 100 per cent sure about this but the Liverpool family was sensitive enough to do this and for him it was good.
“He trained outstandingly in the few sessions we’ve had together since he was back.
“His game was not perfect but that is how it is after a long break, but it helped him and us.
“It is always difficult to replace top-class players (Mane) in a really good shape but we did it at the end of last season when we had to play without him.”
Klopp confirmed Simon MignoTottenham let will return in goal after Loris Karius played in midweek and that the Belgium international is his first-choice for Premier League matches, while Trent AlexanderArnold could return at right-back.
Liverpool’s defence is in the spotlight again after letting a lead slip late on against Sevilla. The back four featured two changes compared to the game against Manchester City, but Klopp insisted those alterations were not the reason for the high number of goals conceded.
“In an ideal world we (would) have 11 players play the whole season, but it is not an ideal world,” he said. “We didn’t concede a goal because of the formation and (because) they didn’t work together.
“It is a lack of concentration We cannot take out the five goals against City but if we could do it, we have played a lot of games with decent defensive performances.”
Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has had surgery on a shoulder injury and is expected to be out “for months”.
The 31-year-old suffered the injury after landing awkwardly during the Clarets’ 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace last weekend.
Manager Sean Dyche had said after the game he suspected it would be a long-term injury and, asked whether that were true ahead of the Liverpool clash, he replied: “Yes, it won’t be weeks, it will be a longer period.”