Philippe Coutinho to be assessed ahead of Liverpool's match against Tottenham after long-haul journey

Liverpool could be left without star man Philippe Coutinho for their crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, still vying for the title, this weekend due to the Brazilian's lengthy return trip from his homeland just a few days prior to the game.

Philippe Coutinho to be assessed ahead of Liverpool's match against Tottenham after long-haul journey
(Picture: Getty Images)

Philippe Coutinho will be assessed to determine whether he is deemed fit enough to feature in Liverpool's clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Saturday evening.

The Brazilian was an unused substitute as his country drew 2-2 with Paraguay in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but has had to endure a 13-hour flight to return to England.

Whilst the rest of Jürgen Klopp's squad were at Melwood on Wednesday to prepare for the Spurs game, which marks the beginning of the final stretch of the season - Coutinho was on a plane back from South America, making the 6,300-mile journey to return to Merseyside.

The club are wary that such a long journey could leave their star creative midfielder jaded ahead of what is expected to be an energy-sapping showdown with Mauricio Pochettino's men, who are fighting to keep hopes of a title triumph alive.

Chasing league leaders Leicester City, who don't play until the Sunday, Spurs can narrow the gap at the top to two points with a victory on Merseyside and will undoubtedly go full-strength in their attempts to do so.

Coutinho is expected to be back in Liverpool on Thursday, having only played 23 minutes of Brazil's other game during the international break - also a 2-2 draw, this time with Uruguay, but will be assessed to judge his fitness.

His absence would be a huge blow, having scored three goals in his last five games to take his total for nine goals and five assists for the season in all competitions - including a stunning match-defining goal against Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League.

Coutinho a potential doubt for Spurs showdown

A delighted Klopp with Coutinho after his stunning solo goal away at United. (Picture: Getty Images)
A delighted Klopp with Coutinho after his stunning solo goal away at United. (Picture: Getty Images)

His gruelling trip may have removed the benefit of his lack of playing time for Dunga's side, who had to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Paraguay and relied upon a late Dani Alves equaliser to leave them four points behind Uruguay and Ecuador in a South American World Cup qualifying group that consists of 10 teams.

England contingent Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne were amongst those back with the club on Wednesday as they reconvened from a two-week break. 

Having 19 first-team members away on international duty, Klopp will be relieved that all of them have, thus far, returned unscathed - although it is not yet clear when Divock Origi, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino will all return from injuries that forced them to withdraw from their international squads.

The Reds can at least expect to have Alberto Moreno back in contention against Spurs however, after he training freely with a fraction of the squad that travelled for a warm-weather training week in Tenerife during the break from Premier League action.