Coutinho Absence Down To Stress, Doctor Claims

Philippe Coutinho’s early season absence at Liverpool was down to stress amid speculation over a big-money move to Barcelona, according to the player’s doctor in Brazil.

Coutinho has not featured for Liverpool competitively this term and handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a switch to Camp Nou, although Liverpool are understood to have rejected three bids for the playmaker – the latest coming in at £119 million.

The official reason for the 25-year-old’s absence was a back injury initially, before illness kept him away from last week’s resounding victories over Hoffenheim and Arsenal.

Coutinho still joined up with Brazil’s national team for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia on August 31 and September 5 respectively and trained separately from his team-mates on Monday.

“Coutinho’s back problem? He is okay now. The back problem was a matter of stress, it was something emotional,” Coutinho’s doctor Michael Simoni told Esporte after meeting with the player in Rio.

“The uncertainty about his future led him to feeling stressed. Everything is solved now.

“Coutinho and I have been friends for years. I always treat his medical cases. All he needed was someone to give him a pep talk.”

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