December 13, 2016 / 10:27 AM / 8 months ago

Liverpool's Coutinho targets early return from injury

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho reacts after sustaining an injury. Liverpool v Sunderland - Premier League - Anfield - 26/11/16. Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

(Reuters) - Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has set his sights on making his return from an ankle injury in the Premier League match against Manchester City on Dec. 31.

The 24-year-old Brazilian, who was initially expected to be out for five to six weeks, has been on the sidelines since sustaining the injury during the 2-0 win over Sunderland at Anfield last month.

"This is still my hope - to return for this game (against Manchester City)," Coutinho told the club's website (www.liverpoolfc.com).

Liverpool have dropped points in their last two games, losing at Bournemouth and being held to a home draw by West Ham United on Sunday to slip six points behind leaders Chelsea.

"The rehab is going really well. I can now walk without crutches and I am working well with the medical team. So I'm pleased with how I am recovering," Coutinho added.

"Straight after the game, when I first saw the pictures and videos of my injury, I was a little scared. But after the scans, of course it was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I am happy, as it could have been a lot worse."

Liverpool, third in the table, travel to 16th-placed Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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