Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp claims Philippe Coutinho’s free-kick against West Ham was “one of the smartest in history”.
The Brazilian playmaker returned to action following a hamstring injury in the 2-1 extra-time FA Cup defeat at Upton Park and he marked his comeback with a superb free-kick that he rolled beneath the jumping West Ham wall from 20 yards.
Coutinho is in line to be involved in Sunday’s game at Aston Villa and Klopp is thrilled to see him return alongside striker Daniel Sturridge, as Liverpool aim to mount a final push for the top four.
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“It was one of the smartest free-kicks in football history. It was really cool,” Klopp said at Friday’s press call. “I don’t know many teams who he can’t play for. He’s had two injuries in the season and has to come back in his rhythm, and we will try to help him this way.
“Phil is always someone who can make a difference but he’s not alone, and it’s not about quality, but physical qualities. It’s not possible he’s 100 per cent but he’s in a really good way and that’s good news for sure.”
Klopp revealed Joe Allen will miss out against Villa on Sunday, while Dejan Lovren is also still missing, but Steven Caulker is available.
“Joe Allen is unfortunately out for a while. He was in a really good way, we tried to manage time after injury when I came, but then he gets a little knock on the shoulder. We have to wait a little bit for him,” added Klopp.
“Lovren not for Aston Villa but hopefully the next game. It’s a strange feeling in the muscle. He was injured, pushed back, but not a real serious thing. Martin Skrtel is back on the pitch outside but needs his time.
“Steven Caulker had back problems before the West Ham game, yesterday he trained normal, he’s available.
“Jordan Rossiter is not in team training and Cameron Brannagan was ill, like kids are. He was one week ill, I saw him before the West Ham game and he lost two or three kilos. He’s back but we have to feed him and he’ll be available.”
Meanwhile, Klopp has said Daniel Sturridge, who played for an hour against West Ham, has made a “big step” in the last seven days.
“We need to think about how he can manage minutes but he made a big step in the last week and I’ve made no final decisions about line-up. Until now, everything is like it should be,” added Klopp.