Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has insisted that he will return from injury ahead of schedule and could be available to face Manchester City on December 31.
The Brazilian international suffered ankle ligament damage during his side’s 2-0 win over Sunderland at the end of November, and had been expected to be sidelined until mid-January.
However, he is determined to return sooner and help Liverpool stay on track as Jurgen Klopp’s side continue to compete for the Premier League title this season.
It remains to be seen if the medical staff sign off on Coutinho’s new recovery schedule, but it’s clear that he’s hopeful that he will be able to face Pep Guardiola and City in the final game of 2016.
“This is still my hope – to return for this game [against City],” he told Liverpool’s official website.
“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.”
Since Coutinho was sidelined by the injury, Liverpool have lost to Bournemouth and been held at home by West Ham United which in turn has seen them fall six points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea.
As a result, it’s undoubtedly been a frustrating period for the 24-year-old and the club, and his return will be a welcome boost for Klopp particularly with Sadio Mane set to be absent throughout January while on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
It remains to be seen if Coutinho can make his early comeback, but if he does, it will be just the boost that Liverpool need after a busy Christmas period as they look to remain in contention in his absence.