PHILIPPE COUTINHO will be given until the last moment to prove his fitness for Liverpool’s clash with Stoke today.
The Brazilian star has been banned from the training ground due to the illness which forced him off during Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.
It’s the latest blow to Jurgen Klopp who also confirmed yesterday that Sadio Mane is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Klopp said: “Phil is still ill. He was not at Melwood on Thursday and he will not be here today.
“He feels much better but we will have to see if we can bring him. Stoke is not too far away so we will give him all the time he needs.”
Klopp confirmed that Mane is facing surgery on the knee injury he suffered in last weekend’s Merseyside derby which would make it “impossible” to play again this season.
Striker Daniel Sturridge is available today if, but the Liverpool boss accepts it would be a “risk” to start him and doesn’t think he could last 90 minutes after five weeks out with a hip injury.
He said: “We all know about his quality, there is no doubt about that, and it’s good to have him back but difficult to put him straight back.
“Friday’s session will be only his third and it will be a high intensity game at Stoke so it’s difficult.
“It is a risk and he’s no chance of playing 90 minutes and if he starts then you would have to change and all that stuff.
“That’s the situation – it is better than when he is not in training but it is still early.”
Klopp could turn to youth with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn, Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson all options.
“The young boys give us a few options – it’s about Ben, Trent, Harry, Marko Grujic.
“These are the boys we have to think about but also about the position, who can help us where and can we create a situation where they can really perform?
“We have to think about it. Maybe when I know the system we exactly want to play in, I will know.
“That depends too on what the doc tells me. We have to see what players can best play in each position.”