Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been left out of the squad to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night due to injury, but that’s not the only problem for the Reds it seems.
First and foremost the 25-year-old will be disappointed to be missing out at this stage with the new campaign just around the corner, and it’s a double blow for Liverpool who saw Adam Lallana ruled out for two months with a thigh injury.
According to The Mirror, Coutinho has a slight back problem which is forcing him to sit out, and so Jurgen Klopp will be hopeful that he can recover quickly and be back to full fitness in time for the start of the season.
However, the report goes on to discuss Barcelona’s interest in the Brazilian international, and implicitly suggests that there could be a link between the two.
It’s a line shared by The Sun who have gone down a similar route with their coverage of the story, as although both reiterate that Liverpool remain adamant that they will not sell Coutinho, the fact that Barcelona have just collected £200m from selling Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain could mean a monster offer will be directed to Anfield.
Given that he also missed the midweek clash with Atletico Madrid as well and skipped training at Melwood on Friday, there is no doubt that Coutinho is struggling with a knock.
Nevertheless, the papers seem to be building the suspicion around the situation and are hinting that Klopp may have to get used to not having the former Inter star at his disposal this season if Barcelona step up their interest in him.