Jurgen Klopp hands Pep Guardiola New Year’s Eve nightmare ahead of crunch clash

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Philippe Coutinho is making good progress in his recovery from an ankle injury and is optimistic about his chances of returning before the end of 2016.

The 24-year-old started the campaign in great form, as he bagged six goals and five assists in 14 appearances for Klopp’s side to put them in the mix at the top of the Premier League table.

However, he suffered a serious ankle injury in the win over Sunderland on November 26, and it had initially been feared that he could be missing into the middle of January next year.

It sounds as though Klopp could be welcoming him back sooner than that though, as the German tactician left the door open to a possible return against Manchester City at Anfield on New Year’s Eve.

“It would be cool. He is improving a lot,” he said, according to Sky Sports.

“He is off his crutches since the West Ham game, when we left the stadium he was walking in front without them.

“We will have to see. No idea at the moment. I never rush a player back. I’m the most patient person in Liverpool. I always wait for someone. I can’t rush it.”

Klopp has seen his side slip off the pace slightly since Coutinho was sidelined, with a dramatic loss at Bournemouth and a disappointing draw at home with West Ham United ensuring that they fell six points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.

However, with a return to form against Middlesbrough in midweek and the boost that Coutinho is doing well and could return in the next fortnight, it has all ensured that there is a positive mood in the Liverpool camp heading into Christmas as they look to keep up the pace.

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