Coutinho targets City clash for Liverpool comeback

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Philippe Coutinho hopes to return to fitness in time for Liverpool's crunch match against Premier League title rivals Manchester City on December 31.

The Brazil playmaker suffered an ankle injury in the Reds' 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Anfield last month and there were fears Coutinho was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Manager Jurgen Klopp initially stated the Reds would be without Coutinho until January, but the talented 24-year-old hopes to play one last time in 2016 when Pep Guardiola's City visit Anfield on New Year's Eve.

"This is still my hope - to return for this game," he told Liverpoolfc.com.

"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.

"Straight after the game, when I first saw the pictures and videos of my injury, I was a little scared.

"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."

Coutinho was powerless to help as Liverpool gave up an early lead and had to fight from 2-1 down to draw 2-2 at home to struggling West Ham on Sunday.

"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," the former Inter player 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."