Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho will miss Man City clash

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Being back for Liverpool’s clash against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve (Watch live, NBC, 12:30 p.m. ET and online via NBCSports.com) was always the aim for Philippe Coutinho.

It hasn’t worked out.

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Speaking to the media on Thursday in his pre-match press conference, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed that their Brazilian playmaker will not play against City and is unlikely to play in the Jan. 2 game against Sunderland either as he continues to recover from injury.

“No. He is in a good way, a really good way – I spoke to him a few minutes ago. But the City game, for sure, is too early and if the City game is too early then I am pretty sure the Sunderland game is too early, too. That’s it,” Klopp said.

There’s no doutbing that Manchester City and Pep Guardiola will be delighted that Coutinho isn’t available. He makes Liverpool tick and even though they’ve blown past teams in his absence, you can sense he’s sorely missed.

Coutinho has been out since Nov. 26 following the home win against Sunderland and the 24-year-old has been a big miss for Liverpool, even though Klopp’s side sit second in the table and six points behind Chelsea heading into the halfway point of the season.

Liverpool are the top scorers in the PL with 45 goals in 18 games and with Coutinho set to return in a week or so, Klopp will have the key cog back in his offensive machine.

That’s scary for any opponent to contemplate.

Klopp also gave another injury update as center back Joel Matip will continue to be out injured after he suffered an ankle injury against West Ham United on Aug. 11. He will not play against City so Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan will continue together in central defense.