Philippe Coutinho is fit to play in Brazil’s two World Cup qualifiers this week, according to the national team doctor.
That’s despite Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp‘s assertion that Coutinho is missing from the Reds not because of a desire to move to Barcelona, but because of a back injury.
[ PL PLAYBACK: 20 teams, 20 hot takes ]
The Liverpool Echo has this quote from Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar, “From a medical point of view, Philippe is in the perfect condition to play.”
Coutinho’s availability has been listed as “off limits” by Liverpool all summer long, and at one point Barca was said to relent on the idea of signing him. But reports of the player’s desire to join Barca have gone from “if Liverpool’s okay with it” to “he’s emailed a transfer request” as the weeks have gone on.
The latest reported offer would reach $176 million with incentives, and rumors say Liverpool have any number of options to help replace him. That includes Monday reports of Renato Sanches and Thomas Lemar coming to Anfield.
Lemar has a 14-goal season at age 21, something Coutinho reached just last season, and also has 24 assists with Monaco. The in-form Reds would risk Lemar taking time to adjust to the level of the Premier League, but that’s about it.
The Reds could make $100 million in profit in making the “exchange” of attackers. Wow.
Regardless, at least we’ll get to see Coutinho work his magic for the first time in a while.
Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.
Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.
[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]
The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.
Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.
While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.
Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.
One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.
Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.
[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]
Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.
Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.
Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.
A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.
Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.
Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.
Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)
Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match
Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.
Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.
The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.
Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.
LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.
The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.
Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.
Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.
Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]