Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho in consideration for Southampton clash as he edges closer to injury recovery

Philippe Coutinho could be handed a place in Liverpool's squad for their League Cup semi-final first leg against Southampton on Wednesday, potentially giving him his first competitive minutes since injuring himself in November.

Stretchered off against Sunderland at Anfield after colliding with Didier Ndong in late November, a scan revealed that the Brazilian had suffered ankle ligament damage and would be out for around six weeks.

With manager Jürgen Klopp and his team managing Coutinho carefully so as not to worsen the injury, the Reds' star man has been nursed back to health in the expected time, leaving Klopp to confirm that he could select Coutinho in his 18-man squad for the game at St Mary's, although it's highly unlikely that he'll be handed a starting role.

"I think Phil is fit enough for being part of the squad. That means it could be minutes, how much I don’t know. It depends on the game, of course. He is on a very good way," said Klopp when asked about his player.

Comeback timed perfectly

Liverpool's form has been indifferent since Coutinho's injury, losing to Bournemouth and drawing to West Ham in the league before going on a four match winning streak over Christmas. They drew their last one at Sunderland, but are still within just five points off Chelsea and a contender in the title challenge.

Coutinho's return will be an obvious boost given that he's regarded by many as the best player at the club, but also because Sadio Mane has jetted off to compete for Senegal in the African Cup of Nations, leaving the Reds short of an attacker.

Despite the festive period being out of the way, important games are coming thick and fast, with Manchester United away on Sunday and Chelsea at home in a couple of weeks.

Coutinho might be targeting a return to the starting 11 at Old Trafford, where he scored a fantastic goal on his last visit, but a more realistic return to the Liverpool side is likely to come at home to Swansea City, a week on Saturday.