Coutinho could return earlier than expected

Christmas may have come early for Liverpool after star midfielder Philippe Coutinho announced that he could be back on the pitch earlier than initially thought. 

Coutinho had been ruled out till mid-January after he sustained ankle ligament damage in his side’s 2-0 win over Sunderland on November 26. 

Coutinho though is now aiming to make his comeback when the Reds take on Manchester City on New Year’s Eve. 

"This is still my hope – to return for this game," he told the club’s official website. "The rehab is going really well. I can now walk without crutches and I am working well with the medical team. So I'm pleased with how I am recovering."

After being stretchered off during the match against Sunderland, the Brazilian admitted that he initially feared he would require surgery and would be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. 

"Straight after the game, when I first saw the pictures and videos of my injury, I was a little scared," he said. "But after the scans, of course it was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I am happy, as it could have been a lot worse."

Liverpool has endured a few setbacks in their Premier League campaign as of late and now trail league leaders Chelsea by six points. Despite this, Coutinho is confident his side will turn their fortunes around, starting with their clash against Middlesbrough on Wednesday. 

"Obviously I have been very frustrated, because like any player who is injured, it is tough to watch rather than play and help the team," he said. "The last game was a draw and not the result we wanted, but the team still has great quality and I am certain in the next game we will come back stronger."