Having played almost two full games as Brazil kept their World Cup qualifying campaign on track with wins over bitter rivals Argentina and Peru, there were suggestions that Liverpool talisman Philippe Coutinho would be unable to run out in the goalless draw with Southampton on Saturday after feeling some tightness in his hamstring, but the 24-year old was fit enough for the starting eleven despite looking a bit leggy during the opening stages.
“[Coutinho and Firmino were back on] Thursday at Melwood, that was the earliest moment we could [get them back],” explained the Reds boss, with the club having shared the cost of a £120k private jet with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea to get their South American stars back in time for the weekend. “But then, of course, they cannot train after a long flight. Sadio came back pretty early, he was back on Monday, so it was all good,” added Klopp. “Because of the flight, Phil had a little bit [of a problem] but obviously no big problem as everybody could see today.”
Arriving at St. Mary’s Stadium top of the league, Liverpool would leave the exact same way despite failing to capitalize on a number of opportunities. Coutinho, for his part, looked to be suffering a bit of a hangover from his exploits in South America where he added another impressive long-range goal to his already packed highlight reel. It might have been a bit of an off day for the man the Kop affectionately refered to as the Little Magician, but that wasn’t down to him being played with a knock.
“We would have taken no risk – 100 per cent not,” said Klopp, waving away any suggestion that Coutinho was risked in any which way. “Three things are important for me – what the doc says, what the scan says when you have one and what the player says,” continued the Liverpool manager, before adding, “All were thumbs up so we let him run.”