Wantaway Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho will once again be absent from Jurgen Klopp's squad for the Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday (19 August) as speculation continues to persist regarding a big-money transfer to Barcelona.
Coutinho submitted a transfer request last week amid sustained interest from the Catalan giants, whose general manager Josep Segura recently claimed that deals for both the Brazil international and Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele are close to completion.
Coutinho missed Liverpool's final pre-season meeting with Athletic Bilbao in Dublin due to a back injury and also played no part in an opening day top-flight draw at Watford or the narrow Champions League play-off round first-leg victory over Hoffenheim.
Having yet to return to training at Melwood, the unsettled 25-year-old will remain absent for the visit of Frank de Boer's Palace to Anfield and there is currently no timeline for his return.
"Phil is not available; he is not training so far, so there is nothing new," manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Thursday. "It is always how it is with injured players, there is no real time on when he is back."
Quizzed regarding those comments from Segura, Klopp insisted there was "nothing new" on Coutinho to Barcelona and said that he had no complaints about the player's attitude following suggestions that he could be ready to go on strike in order to force a move to the Nou Camp. Liverpool are said to remain unwavering in their stance that he is not for sale at any price.
"I can't say anything about his attitude because since he has had a back problem he hasn't been in training," Klopp added. "But when I asked the medical department about him they said nothing bad. We are all not silly. It's a difficult situation but there's nothing new to say. I don't like to lie and it's exactly how I say it. Nothing else."
While Coutinho will not play against Palace, Klopp believes that Daniel Sturridge is ready to feature. The injury-plagued England striker earned praise from both teammates and his manager for some commendable performances during pre-season, only to sustain a thigh problem while scoring during a 3-0 Audi Cup victory over Bayern Munich.
"Daniel yes, I would say," Klopp responded when asked if Sturridge was in line to return. "Yesterday he was part of the complete session and looked really good, but always after injuries you have to wait to see how the player reacts to this intensity."
Adam Lallana remains sidelined for Liverpool due to a thigh strain, while Klopp also confirmed that there has been "no change" with regard to Nathaniel Clyne's recovery from a back issue. The latter's future place in the starting XI looks far from guaranteed, with academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold continuing to impress in midweek with a brilliant free-kick goal against Hoffenheim.