Coutinho close to Liverpool return

Philippe Coutinho should soon be back in action for Liverpool, ESPN has reported, after the playmaker made a promising start to his recovery from shoulder surgery.

The 21-year-old damaged his shoulder during the 2-2 draw with Swansea City in September and while the weekend’s home tie with West Bromwich Albion will come too soon for Coutinho, he is back in training and manager Brendan Rodgers expects to have the Brazilian back in his squad shortly, admitting that the Reds have been poorer for the player’s absence.

He might just be short for this weekend,” Rodgers said of Coutinho. “You always miss quality. He’s re-joined the training group. Philippe’s joined in with the team on a non-contact basis, and I would think after the weekend, he’ll be fine.

He’s got really good strength in his shoulder now, so it’s a case of getting him up to speed in training with the group,” Rodgers continued. “But he’s been in the last couple of days and he’s looked brilliant.

It’s like he’s never been away, with the flow and fluency he is showing with the ball. His work has been excellent. It’s great to see him back in and it’s another quality player back for us.

Coutinho moved to Anfield from Inter in January, having started his career at Vasco and also spent time on loan at Espanyol. He made 50 appearances for Inter, scoring five times, as well as netting five times for Espanyol in 16 games. Coutinho has made 18 appearances for Liverpool, with three goals, and also has a senior Brazil cap to his name, from 2010.

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