By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Philippe Coutinho is set to return to training as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
Football Insider revealed on Thursday evening that the Brazilian was set to be back on the training pitch with his team-mates ahead of a possible return against Sunderland on Saturday week.
The Liverpool playmaker has been sidelined since breaking down in the club’s 1-0 League Cup semi-final first leg win over Stoke on 5 January.
Anfield medics expected Coutinho to be out for four to six weeks with his second hamstring injury of the season.
Coutinho, who is widely regarded as one of Liverpool’s outstanding players, has missed six matches and is expected to sit out at least two more, Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against West Ham and the Premier League trip to Leicester next Tuesday.
In other Liverpool injury news, Dejan Lovren will be back this weekend after recovering from a hamstring injury of his own which, like Coutinho’s, was sustained against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
But Jordan Henderson is out with the foot injury that has bothered him for most of the season and Nathaniel Clyne is a doubt with a knee problem.
Speaking at his media briefing on Friday, Klopp said: “Lovren is back, Caulker is available. Coutinho is close to returning to training, still doing rehab. Nathaniel Clyne, possibly. We are not sure. He feels much better.
“Hendo can be an option. He did really well for the team. Long-term injury and still having pain. We are on a good way, but we need to use these two or three days then hopefully he be recovered.”