Klopp says Coutinho can be the Mane man

Liver­pool v Burn­ley

Sport360 - - Football | Premier League - By Carl Markham @carl­markham ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

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.”

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