Why Coutinho, Firmino and Mane might not play together until February

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Football News

Liverpool fans' worst fears were realised on Monday afternoon, with Philippe Coutinho ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.

Following a strong - but fair - 50/50 challenge with Sunderland's Didier Ndong on Saturday, the Brazilian was stretchered off the pitch and later pictured on crutches.

Scans today have confirmed he will miss the festive period and return in mid-January, assuming his recovery goes to plan.

And that's a real worry for manager Jurgen Klopp. Coutinho has been in fantastic form this season and losing him at such a pivotal point is a huge blow.

However, the impact of Coutinho's injury could potentially stretch further than just his individual absence.

Russian football expert Artur Petrosyan has pointed out something that will deeply concern Liverpool fans, especially so given their title hopes.

In the tweet below, Petrosyan explains how there's a chance Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino won't play together again until February 11.

With Mane due to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations and Coutinho expected back in mid-January, Firmino will be the only available member of the trio at the beginning of 2017.

Coutinho will then return but, if Mane and Senegal reach the AFCON final on February 5, he won't be available until Liverpool's game against Tottenham at home the following week.

How will they cope?

If anyone can find an answer to Liverpool's dilemma, it's Klopp. The German has a plethora of talent at his disposal and should be able to find quality replacements for Coutinho and Mane.

Many have speculated who Klopp will use in the pair's absence, with Jamie Redknapp explaining how Firmino might have to drop back into the No.10 role to provide cover.

"If any opposition manager could take one player out of the Liverpool team it would be Coutinho," he wrote in his Daily Mail column. "He is the maestro in Klopp's side and makes them tick.

"It is the first real injury blow Liverpool have suffered and it has happened at the worst possible time with a busy December ahead.

"Klopp may have to alter the way Liverpool play. Firmino could have to change his role and become the playmaker with Divock Origi as a striker.

"This will be the first real test Klopp’s squad have faced."

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Steven Gerrard
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Roberto Firmino
UEFA Champions League
Fernando Torres
Philippe Coutinho

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