Liverpool V Southampton at Anfield : Match Preview

06 May 2017 02:34

Philippe Coutinho battling to be fit for Liverpool's game with Southampton

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho looks set to recover from a dead leg to start against Southampton on Sunday.

Press Association Sport understands he returned to light training away from the main squad on Thursday as the club's medical staff continue to manage his fitness in order to maximise his chances of being fit for the weekend.

"The injury is much better. It was a hard tackle and what happened was a dead leg. It caused a lot of pain in the area I was hit, but the pain has reduced now," Coutinho told liverpoolfc.com.

"At the moment, I am feeling very well - the first couple of days were the most painful.

"Of course, when you have to come out of such an important game like this one, and when you leave that early, it frustrates you, but thanks to God it was nothing major - just a strong tackle.

"It was nothing too serious and the main thing was we won the game and we left the match very pleased and happy because the result was very good for us.

"The main thing was for us to come home with the three points."

Midfielder Adam Lallana could be in line to start after playing 74 minutes at Watford, his first action in five weeks after a thigh injury.

Striker Daniel Sturridge's fitness continues to be managed and he is likely to only be on the bench again.

Claude Puel has challenged Southampton's midfielders to hand Manolo Gabbiadini the service to drive the deadly Italian back to his goal-scoring best.

Gabbiadini struck six times in his first four Southampton matches in all competitions, but has since drawn a blank in four Premier League appearances.

Saints laboured to a goalless draw against Hull last time out and must now sharpen up their attacking play at Anfield.

Former Nice boss Puel has accepted Gabbiadini needs smarter support from Saints' creative talents.

"Football's a collective game, a striker needs good quality in the final third," said Puel.

"Manolo is a very good striker but he needs to have good opportunities because it's very interesting but it's important to see him, to find a good relationship and create the possibilities for him, to play in the final third.

"Because all this quality around the box with good moves, with clinical edge, to finish the action.

"And of course we need to find the spaces, good crosses, good passes, and good balance between the players.

"We've found it in many games but it wasn't there against Hull and it was difficult for our offensive players to find a situation and solution."

Charlie Austin could make a long-awaited Southampton return having been sidelined since dislocating his shoulder in the 1-1 Europa League home draw with Hapoel Be'er Sheva on December 8.




Source: PAR


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