Coutinho ruled fit for Brazil despite extended Liverpool absence

There’s something rotten in the city of Liverpool.

A doctor for Brazil‘s national team suggested Monday that Philippe Coutinho‘s back injury is not as serious as he’s made it seem.

“From a medical point of view, Philippe is in the perfect condition to play,” doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said, according to the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce.

The revelation comes at a difficult moment for Liverpool, which has reportedly resisted Barcelona‘s attempts to sign the 25-year-old. Coutinho’s missed the past month because of the apparent back problem, but he continued to report to Liverpool’s training base in Melwood. He then fell ill before last weekend’s 4-0 evisceration of Arsenal.

Related: Barcelona director coy on Coutinho, hopes to ‘present a new player’

Manager Jurgen Klopp didn’t stand in the way of Coutinho’s call-up to the national team, although he argued the playmaker wouldn’t be fit enough to train – let alone compete.

“It’s in the hands of the specific FA,” the German said. “They make their own decisions.

“Are we always happy with things like that? No, not always in the past. Sometimes players come back after a small injury, go to their national team and play two games. But it’s the same procedure as always.”

In light of the doctor’s comments, Pearce now expects Coutinho to start against Ecuador in Thursday’s home World Cup qualifier in Porto Alegre. Brazil also faces Colombia on Sept. 5.

The swift return to health is suspicious considering Coutinho submitted a transfer request three weeks ago. Barcelona is widely believed to have tested Liverpool with three bids – the latest of which exceeded the £100-million mark – but the Reds’ position that Coutinho’s not for sale has remained unchanged.

A fourth offer is expected before Spain’s transfer deadline on Friday.

EPL | theScore

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