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Published: 15:41 | 17/12/15

Mignolet backs returning Coutinho


Simon Mignolet believes the return of playmaker Philippe Coutinho will add firepower to the Liverpool starting line-up against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The Brazilian has missed the last two Premier League matches following a hamstring injury, but is expected to return to the Reds' starting line-up when Jurgen Klopp's side face the Baggies at Anfield on Sunday.

Without Coutinho, Liverpool struggled to a narrow 1-0 win over Swansea at Anfield on 29 November, lost 2-0 at Newcastle last weekend, and face another tough test on Sunday against a West Brom side that has conceded just five goals in seven away matches this season.

Coutinho came off the bench against FC Sion in the Europa League on Thursday as Liverpool laboured to a goalless draw against the Swiss side, but Mignolet hopes that a 30-minute cameo at Anfield will help the 23-year-old to slip back into the side seamlessly,

"With Philippe coming back we have got a lot of creativity in those kind of spaces and that's something we need to look at, especially in these type of games," the Belgium goalkeeper said.

"Sion were well organised, they played on the counter-attack and sat back and we have to try to find the solutions to try to create chances.

"They are different games compared to when you go away to big teams and they give you the opportunity to play.

"We have to find a way in these type of games when they sit back. Sunday will probably be similar. They will look to be dangerous on the counter-attack and maybe with a set-piece."

The 27-year-old has begun preliminary talks over an extension to his current contract at Anfield, which runs until 2018, and has praised Klopp for boosting his confidence since he replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool boss in October.

"It's obviously nice to hear the manager say that so openly in the public and that he's behind you," Mignolet said.

"I knew that already. He had spoken with me. He speaks with every player. You know what he's about and what he likes.

"It gives you a lot of confidence and it's nice to hear but, by the same token, it doesn't mean anything because you have to keep showing on the pitch what you can do and what you are about.

"I'll keep working hard to improve and keep my head down. I'm not really concerning myself about a new contract. There are games to be played and that's what I am focused on.

"Games come thick and fast and that's the only thing that matters at the moment. Of course I'm happy at Liverpool and I want to stay here."

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