Philippe Coutinho ready to answer call

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is ready to start against Burnley and fill the void left by the suspension of Sadio Mane.

The Senegal international is about to start a three-match ban for his dismissal 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.

“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.”

“Roberto (Firmino) has already played left wing, Phil has played there and Alex (Oxlade-Chamberlain) can play there.”

Klopp confirmed Simon Mignolet will return in goal after sitting out in midweek to give Loris Karius a game.

The Reds boss confirmed the Belgium international is his first-choice for Premier League matches, while Trent Alexander-Arnold 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. Our fault is that, with some things, we give you the opportunity to talk about it , — that is our mistake.”

Anfield is the next destination for a Burnley side in a unenviable start to the campaign that has already included trips to Chelsea and Tottenham, with Everton and Manchester City their next two league hosts.

The Clarets have already picked up four points from their two matches on their travels this season so far.

“We’ve got some great confidence from the away games we’ve had recently and the points we’ve picked up,” said Clarets striker Sam Vokes.

“For us, we’re not going there in fear of anyone. It’s another chance for us to go and put our name out there.

“Even at start of the year when the fixtures came out, everyone thought, ‘Those first five are daunting’, but we’ve taken that challenge on and we’ve got four points from the first two so we go to Anfield full of confidence.”

More in this Section

Pochettino happy with his lot: ‘I don’t care where Arsenal are’

Arsene Wenger turns page on talk of writing book

Chris Hughton: 'I think Martin O'Neill has done a great job'

Sharing not caring, the post-war roots of the North London rivalry

Breaking Stories

Na Piarsaigh extend unbeaten run as they capture Munster hurling title

Bryan Sheehan announces his retirement from intercounty football

Mourinho pleased to see Lukaku back among the goals for Manchester United

Antonio Conte eyes another long Chelsea winning streak


A towering achievement: Exploring Irish castles and beautiful buildings

Books that belong on the gardener's bookshelf

The domestic flash of Francis Brennan

John Wilson touring with music made with Rory Gallagher in Taste

More From The Irish Examiner