Liverpool have traveled to Germany without Philippe Coutinho or Daniel Sturridge after both were left out of the 22-man squad for the Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim.
Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson led the squad into the terminal at Liverpool airport on Monday morning as they prepared to board their flight ahead of Tuesday’s first leg in the South West of Germany with the return fixture at Anfield scheduled for next Wednesday.
Coutinho missed Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Watford with an apparent back injury but has been actively trying to force a transfer to Barcelona and handed in a transfer request last week.
Jurgen Klopp makes his way into the airport ahead of the team’s flight to Germany
Jordan Henderson smiles as Joe Gomez and James Milner follow him into the airport
Sadio Mane struggles with his suitcase as he makes his way into the airport terminal
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Mane picks up his suitcase after letting it slip out of his hands on his way to the airport
LIVERPOOL SQUAD TO TRAVEL
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Georgio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Ryan Kent, Dominic Solanke, Divock Origi, Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Jon Flanagan, Andy Robertson, Joel Matip, Marko Grujic, Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius, Danny Ward.
Sturridge has failed to recover from a thigh injury sustained during a pre-season friendly with Bayern Munich, but arrived at Melwood along with the rest of the squad on Monday morning.
The Reds face Hoffenheim in the first leg of their Champions League play-off on Tuesday and will look to improve on their disappointing 3-3 draw with the Hornets.
All three of their goalscorers from that game – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino – have been included but the omission of Coutinho and Sturridge will be hard-felt.
Mohamed Salah smiles for the camera as he prepares to make his European debut for the Reds
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Simon Mignolet make their way into the terminal in Liverpool
Alberto Moreno and Emre Can follow their team-mates into the terminal ahead of the flight
Daniel Sturridge arrived at Liverpool’s training ground but did not travel with the squad
They must beat the Bundesliga outfit over two legs to qualify for the Champions League group stage with the loser facing demotion to the Europa League and must do so without their most prominent player.
Barcelona have pursued Coutinho as they look to rebuild following the £198million departure of Neymar but have already seen a £90m rejected, after which Liverpool’s owners released a statement declaring their intention to keep him.
However, Coutinho has made his desire to follow Luis Suarez to the Nou Camp public and Klopp recently admitted that he had no say in whether the playmaker stayed at Anfield.
Klopp conceded that Philippe Coutinho’s future at the club is now out of his hands
Sturridge was in good form during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Germany before injury struck
He said: ‘As a manager of a football club I have bosses. And if the bosses decide, for example, just in general, if sell a player or we don’t sell him, then I have to accept it.
‘If they don’t sell him, then I’m not involved anymore. I am responsible for all of players, not just one, two or three. I cannot say anything about it. I work with the players I have, that is what I’m always doing.
‘So how does it change something for me? I didn’t make the decision.’
Sturridge’s future is much more certain but concerns have been raised after the striker suffered yet another thigh injury in what has been a plagued career. His latest setback came at great frustration after he completed a fine pre-season with the squad.