Philippe Coutinho looks set for another spell on the sidelines after hobbling out of Barcelona’s 1-1 La Liga draw against Eibar on Tuesday at the Camp Nou.
The Brazil international only arrived in the 66th minute as a substitute for Miralem Pjanic but did not finish the match. He limped off in stoppage time in what was Barca’s final game of 2020.
Coach Ronald Koeman is already without Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati, and Lionel Messi due to injury. However, Messi is expected to return to training this week after an ankle problem and could be fit in time for Barca’s next game on January 3 at Huesca.
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Coutinho’s Struggles Continue
The injury will be a fresh blow to Coutinho who has already missed a month of action this season after suffering a hamstring problem in the Clasico defeat to Real Madrid back in October.
Coutinho had started the season well after returning from a loan spell with Bayern Munich, scoring four goals and picking up two assists in his first nine games for the Catalan giants.
However, he has struggled to replicate that form since returning to fitness and is yet to add to his goal tally. Coutinho is also facing increased competition for a place in the starting XI due to the emergence of 18-year-old Pedri.
The teenager only arrived in the summer from Las Palmas but has quickly become a regular under Koeman and has featured in all of Barca’s La Liga games so far in 2020-21.
Koeman Offers Coutinho Update
Koeman offered an update on Coutinho’s fitness after the game and admitted the Brazil international would undergo tests to determine the severity of the problem, as reported by Marca.
The Barcelona boss explained, “Coutinho has discomfort in his knee and we’ll have to do some more tests to see what the problem is.”
Barca do have a week before their next game against Huesca which gives Coutinho some time to recover, but Koeman will be hoping the problem is not too serious given his team face a hectic fixture schedule.
The Catalan giants play Huesca, Athletico Bilbao, Granada, and Elche in La Liga in January and also head to Andalusia for the Spanish Super Cup. Barca play Real Sociedad in the semi-finals with the winner set to take on Real Madrid or Athletic.
Coutinho may not be guaranteed a starting spot on current form, but the former Liverpool man is still an important member of the squad and a useful option for Koeman who will need to rotate his squad to keep players fresh.