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Klopp insists Liverpool can cope without crocked Coutinho

Klopp set to be without his key man for six weeks
Klopp set to be without his key man for six weeks

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they can handle the absence of injured playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazil international damaged ankle ligaments in his right leg in Saturday's win over Sunderland and could be out for as long as six weeks, meaning he will not return until the new year.

Klopp's forward line has already been affected by the loss of Danny Ings to a season-ending knee injury, while Daniel Sturridge has a niggling calf problem.

Liverpool's other successful creative force this season Adam Lallana is still not fit after a groin injury sustained on England duty, but Klopp is confident they can cope and refuses to look for excuses.

"Phil Coutinho is a really good football player, so if we cannot use him for the next few days or weeks each team in the world would feel it," he said.

"But it is no excuse for anything. As good as he is he does not decide games by himself, although it sometimes looks like this.

"It is a team performance we create and he is a very important part of this team, absolutely.

"Of course we can handle it. If he is not in you have to show - and we will show.

"Phil's not in, Adam's close but not in, Daniel's close but not in - all quality players and we miss them, but you don't look for excuses.

"We like to play football and I think the way we play it is possible without them, but it would be better when they are all fit."

Klopp is still finalising his preparations to face Leeds in the EFL Cup quarter-final at Anfield, but he will not be contacting best friend and Huddersfield boss David Wagner, even though he has already beaten their near-neighbours twice in the year he has been in charge.

"I don't ask for advice not because I don't respect his advice but because it is a different game," added Klopp.

"Leeds made a few changes in the last few rounds, so I have no idea what team Garry (Monk) will play.

"Maybe I will call him (Wagner) but not about how to beat Leeds."

Klopp has a decision to make on how much involvement to give academy youngster Ben Woodburn after the 17-year-old came off the bench for an added-time first team debut on Saturday.

The teenager is highly-thought of by people at the club, but his appearance in a Premier League match has focused the spotlight on him more and his manager is keen to protect him from the exposure.

"At that moment I thought it was a good idea, it was only a few minutes," he said of his decision to give Woodburn a run-out.

"Afterwards I remembered it is quite difficult to keep him back, not for him or me but for the public.

"We showed him for the first team in the Premier League, but the best news for him is there is so much time for him to improve and develop and we will help him.

"He is a very promising guy and we want to use him as early as possible, but there is no decision made as to when it will be. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

"He and a lot of other guys are in a good way and we have to show sometimes it is not only good ways, we have to show that when they earn something we give something back."

Leeds boss Monk goes into the Anfield match under no illusions about the quality of the eight-time winners of the competition.

"It's a great challenge, that's how we have to look at it. Our young players have a bit of freedom to go there," he said.

"We're under no pressure, the odds are against us, but we have good belief in ourselves.

"It's important these players go through this type of experience because if you want to progress and get to the highest level of football - staff and players - we have to embrace this type of challenge and the atmosphere we will face."