Liverpool have allayed fears of an injury to Philippe Coutinho after the midfielder was withdrawn at half-time during their 1-0 loss to Villarreal in the first-leg of the Europa League semi-finals at the El Madrigal stadium. The Brazilian was replaced by Jordon Ibe and concerns were that the Reds had suffered another injury blow going into the final few games of the season.
According to the Mirror, the former Inter Milan midfielder was taken off due to an illness, which is unlikely to keep him out for too long. It will come as a relief to Jurgen Klopp, who is already without a number of key players going into the last few games of the season, which could also involve a Europa League final.
The German manager is already without Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi, who are all injured and are uncertain to return before the end of the campaign. Therefore, an injury to Coutinho would have severely hampered their chances of a top-five finish in the Premier League, while also denting their chances of making a comeback in the second-leg of the semi-finals against the La Liga side.
The game between Villarreal and Liverpool was heading for a stalemate until the home side grabbed a late winner during injury time to make the Merseyside club's task even harder in the return leg. They will need a similar performance to the one that saw them defeat Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, and Klopp is confident that his team will respond in the right manner.
"To be honest it is the first leg. My first thought was 'sorry, but it is not over, you have to come to Anfield too and we will be ready!'" Klopp said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"Now we have to find solutions to a few things but I saw we are in a good way. I saw a lot of things that show we can. With the help of Anfield we can do it but please don't compare with Dortmund."
"Things are possible with 1-0, it is not the biggest result in the world. Villarreal know a lot more about us and they will respect us," the German coach added.