By Alex Stevens

Philippe Coutinho did not break a bone in the first half of Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, according to a reliable journalist.

The Brazilian playmaker was stretchered off with his right foot in a brace after being on the receiving end of an innocuous tackle by Didier Ndong half an hour into the Anfield showdown.

Coutinho immediately dropped to the turf and called for medical treatment, before he was carried off the pitch and replaced by Divock Origi.

All four sides of Anfield rose to applaud Coutinho, who has been one of the outstanding players in the Premier League this season.

There were widespread fears that the 24-year-old is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with either a broken bone or ligament damage to his ankle.

But Paul Joyce, the Merseyside correspondent for the Times, reported on his personal Twitter account in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s match that Liverpool “don’t think Coutinho suffered [a] fracture”.

This initial positive assessment does not rule out the possibility of ligament damage but gives hope that Coutinho’s absence could be measured in weeks rather than months.

The playmaker has had a brilliant start to the season and spearheaded Liverpool’s climb to the Premier League summit with five goals and five assists from 13 matches in the competition.

An Origi strike and a James Milner penalty lifted Jurgen Klopp’s side back to the top of the table on Saturday afternoon.

However, they can be overtaken by Chelsea on Saturday evening if Antonio Conte’s side can overcome bitter rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

In other Liverpool team news, Jamie Redknapp has delivered his verdict on the club’s title credentials.