Jurgen Klopp: We can handle loss of Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they can handle the absence of injured playmaker Philippe Coutinho, beginning against Leeds United tonight.

Jurgen Klopp: We can handle loss of Philippe Coutinho

The Brazil damaged ankle ligaments in his right leg in Saturday’s win over Sunderland and could be out for as long as six weeks.

Klopp’s forward line has already been affected by the loss of Danny Ings to a season-ending knee injury, while Daniel Sturridge has a niggling calf problem.

Liverpool’s other successful creative force this season Adam Lallana is still not fit after a groin injury sustained on England duty, but Klopp is confident they can cope and refuses to look for excuses.

“Phil Coutinho is a really good football player, so if we cannot use him for the next few days or weeks each team in the world would feel it,” he said.

“But it is no excuse for anything. As good as he is he does not decide games by himself, although it sometimes looks like this. It is a team performance we create and he is a very important part of this team, absolutely.

“Of course we can handle it. If he is not in you have to show - and we will show.Phil’s not in, Adam’s close but not in, Daniel’s close but not in - all quality players and we miss them, but you don’t look for excuses.”

Klopp has a decision to make on how much involvement to give academy youngster Ben Woodburn after the 17-year-old came off the bench for an added-time first team debut on Saturday.

“He is a very promising guy and we want to use him as early as possible, but there is no decision made as to when it will be. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not,” said Klopp.

Leeds boss Monk goes into the Anfield match under no illusions about the quality of the eight-time winners of the competition. “It’s a great challenge, that’s how we have to look at it. Our young players have a bit of freedom to go there,” he said.

“We’re under no pressure, the odds are against us, but we have good belief in ourselves.”

Meanwhile former Liverpool and Leeds striker Robbie Keane believes Jurgen Klopp’s ability to maximise players’ potential has made his old club the most exciting in England.

“Liverpool under Klopp have been great,” he said.

“I love watching him on the sideline, I love his interviews and I love the way he interacts with the players. He is exactly what the Premier League needed and exactly what Liverpool needed. Look at how he’s got the best out of players. (Sadio) Mane from Southampton has been exceptional, Firmino has been brilliant as have (Adam) Lallana and (Jordan) Henderson.

“He is getting the best out of players and you can see the players have bought into everything he is trying to do. They are the most exciting team at the moment to watch.”

The Republic of Ireland’s leading scorer is pleased to see both his old teams’ fortunes improving, with Leeds seventh in the Championship.

“It is great to see both clubs doing very well,” said Keane, who is attracting interest from clubs in Australia, China, Qatar and Dubai having become a free agent.

“Leeds seem to be a bit more stable under Garry Monk, who I think is doing a great job. It is a club that deserves to be in the Premier League with the following they have.”

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