Wantaway Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has returned to Melwood to begin training after international duty.
The Brazil international handed in a transfer request almost a month ago in an attempt to force through a move to Barcelona, who had three bids rejected after owners Fenway Sports Group insisted the 25-year-old was not for sale.
He has not yet played a match for the Reds this term because of a reported back injury but, having joined up with his national side for World Cup qualifiers, he made two substitute appearances against Ecuador and Colombia, scoring a trademark goal against the former.
Coutinho returned home via private jet on Wednesday with club-mate Roberto Firmino, Manchester City trio Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus and Chelsea’s Willian after the three Premier League clubs once again pooled their resources to ensure their players were back in the country as soon as possible.
Liverpool have confirmed he and Firmino, along with another eight returning internationals – Mohamed Salah, Ben Woodburn, Danny Ward, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominic Solanke and Emre Can – all attended the club’s Melwood training ground on Thursday, with Senegal international Sadio Mane reporting back late on Wednesday.
With just 47 minutes of competitive action under his belt, it remains to be seen whether Coutinho will be under consideration for Saturday’s trip to Manchester City.
Woodburn returns to Melwood on the back of two impressive substitute appearances after making his senior debut for Wales.
The 17-year-old has yet to feature in Liverpool’s match-day squads so far this season, appearing once for the under-23s, but Press Association Sport understands he is set to be offered a senior contract when he turns 18 next month.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, will take charge of the club’s under-19s side in the UEFA Youth League this term.
Gerrard, a Champions League winner in 2005, has just begun his first campaign as under-18s manager at the academy and has been asked to lead an older age group in Europe, the majority of whom he will already be coaching on a day-to-day basis.
“Steven Gerrard will manage the Liverpool U19s when they embark on their UEFA Youth League campaign next week,” a statement from Liverpool read.
The under-19s fixtures mirror that of the first team and so will kick-off at home to Sevilla on Wednesday before matches against Maribor and Spartak Moscow.
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