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Midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been left out of Liverpool’s squad to face Manchester City on Saturday.

Coutinho, 25, has returned to the club after making two substitute appearances for Brazil in World Cup qualifiers.

He has missed the start of the Reds’ campaign with a back injury amid interest from Barcelona.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: “I decided to leave him out of the squad for City so we can use the time for extra training. He agreed.”

The Reds turned down three offers from the Spanish giants for Coutinho – who had made a transfer request – and maintain he was not for sale.

He scored in a 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Ecuador last Friday, and also came on during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Colombia.

Coutinho has resumed training with the rest of the Liverpool squad, but Klopp said he would not feature in Saturday’s Premier League game at Etihad Stadium (12:30 BST kick-off).

“We have got all the numbers [on Coutinho] from the Brazilian FA – the training, the intensity of the training, stuff like that, and it was all OK. And he played twice – I think about 15 or 20 minutes,” said Klopp.

“He could have played 15, 20 minutes again in the City game – maybe longer – but I think really it makes sense [to leave him out].

“He agreed completely, so it was not as if he said: ‘No, I don’t need training, I want to play.’ It was a good conversation.”

The German also played down suggestions that Coutinho’s failed transfer could have a lingering impact on his mindset,

“Nothing that I’m aware of was unforgivable,” said Klopp.

Liverpool are title challengers – Guardiola

City boss Pep Guardiola is not underestimating the task posed by Liverpool, who have seven points along with his side, but are second on goal difference behind Manchester United.

The Reds – who last won the title in 1990 – thumped Arsenal 4-0 in their last match before the international break.

“Even though they didn’t win the Premier League for a long time they are one of the challengers,” said Guardiola.

City are likely to be without captain Vincent Kompany after the defender picked up a minor calf injury while playing for Belgium.

“He has made a huge effort to get fit, played three games, 90 minutes, no problem at all. Unfortunately we lost him,” added Guardiola.

‘Zero chance’ of Sterling leaving

In the transfer window, City winger Raheem Sterling was proposed as part of a swap deal involving Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

In the end, a £60m cash deal with City was agreed but it depended on the Gunners signing midfielder Thomas Lemar, who decided to stay with Monaco.

But Guardiola said: “Arsenal wanted to make a swap with Raheem. They talked to me and I said no chance. Zero chance. Not 1% chance to make a swap with Sanchez and Raheem.

“He is 22 years old. He is English. He has a lot of improvement to do.

“We said we would make a cash offer for Alexis. They accepted but they couldn’t sign the player they wanted, so he stayed at Arsenal.”