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The latest on the chances of Philippe Coutinho starting for Aston Villa vs Man United

Philippe Coutinho

 

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has, on Friday, provided a fresh insight into the likelihood of new signing Philippe Coutinho being afforded his debut against Manchester United this weekend.

Coutinho & Digne secured

The endeavours of Premier League outfit Villa on the back of the opening of the winter transfer window have of course taken their place front and centre in the headlines over the course of the last week.

This comes after the Claret and Blue added to their first-team ranks in impressive fashion, courtesy of not one, but two high-profile additions.

Yesterday morning, the arrival of Lucas Digne from Everton was confirmed, adding considerably to Steven Gerrard’s left-back ranks ahead of the 2nd half of the campaign.

Even more impressive, though, was the board at Villa Park pushing a deal over the line for the aforementioned Coutinho.

Amid another difficult season to date with La Liga heavyweights Barcelona, one-time Liverpool standout Coutinho put pen to paper on a 6-month loan deal in the West Midlands, no doubt hopeful of rediscovering his best over the weeks and months ahead.

‘Not match fit’

And now, as alluded to above, an insight into precisely when his latest offensive weapon could be ‘unleashed’ back onto the Premier League landscape has been provided by Villans boss Steven Gerrard.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s Premier League meeting with Manchester United on Saturday, Gerrard was drawn on Coutinho’s availability to face the Red Devils.

And the one-time English international went on to hint that his former teammate is unlikely to start the clash, as he continues to work his way back towards full fitness.

Gerrard refused, though, to completely rule Coutinho out of contention:

‘He’s not match fit because he’s been doing a lot of individual training at Barcelona and he also had a Covid situation.’

‘It’s great to have him, it’s my job to get him settled in and enjoying his football again.’

Gerrard continued:

‘I’m sure there’s a lot of football left in this boy because for me, he’s a fantastic talent and we’re lucky to have him. At the right time, he’ll be unleashed.’

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This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 18 -11 12

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6