Klopp: "I will make changes to line-up for Southampton and Coutinho is close to return"

Jürgen Klopp is likely to make several changes for this evening's Capital One Cup quarter-final clash against Southampton.

Liverpool take on the Saints vying to join Everton, Stoke City and Manchester City in the semi-final stage - but are dealing with a number of injuries as they prepare for a fourth game in just 11 days.

Having won six of their last seven in all competitions, Klopp will be keen to keep the Reds' positive run going and says they may be boosted by the return of Philippe Coutinho

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Klopp explained that he could not give reporters a named team because the last game had only been two days earlier.

Nevertheless, the German declared that he will play "the strongest team" possible - but said it "all depends on the situation" and "how much" the players have played in recent weeks.

The manager insisted that you "can't ignore" either the last game or the next game, adding that he has to "think about" the decision, calling it a "puzzle" - but vowed to use his "strongest team."

Coutinho in contention but Henderson and Sturridge still working on fitness

Sunday's 1-0 home win over Swansea City saw the returns of Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson and Klopp gave a positive update on the duo's fitness.

He explained that there was "no physical reaction" after coming on as second-half substitutes, which he described as "good news" - saying they "did their job" and "helped" the Reds to "keep the result."

On Sturridge's impact, he insisted that he did what they had "spoken about before" and became their "first target" and "first option" - stating that "everyone could see his quality."

But Klopp hinted that he is unlikely to hand significant roles to the two England internationals, saying that there is the possibility of extra-time which would be "too much" for them. 

Instead, he said that the Reds "don't have to think" about starting them because they would "have to change for sure" - but did confirm they will be in the squad as "options" as long as they suffer no setbacks before their trip down south.

On 23-year-old Coutinho, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, the Reds boss said the club "have to wait" and will speak both with the player himself and the medical staff because he "will be close" to full fitness and it is "possible" he could be okay to start - but insisted they need to "double check the situation."

Reds taking things one step at a time

Should Liverpool beat the Saints, they would be just a two-legged semi-final away from the final at Wembley - but Klopp is determined to take the journey one game at a time.

He admitted that a final "would be interesting" but insisted it is "still far away" with his side still only in the quarter-finals and said they can only "think about Southampton" because they are "strong enough" opponents. 

Klopp added that Ronald Koeman's side, who drew 1-1 at Anfield in the German's first home game at the end of October, will "want to strike back" after losing their two games - citing the fact that the two clubs "are not the best of friends" after recent summer transfer sagas.

He added that Liverpool "have to fight" for a place in the next round, against a "good team with a brilliant offensive line" - suggesting Southampton "know more" about their team since their last meeting a month ago.

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