Barca problems mount with Suarez, Pique injuries

AFP
Barcelona has been dealt another blow after its crushingdefeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup with news that Luis Suarez will be out for around 4 weeks with a knee injury.
AFP
AFP

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez grimaces as he sits on the ground during the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on August 16, 2017. The Uruguayan is likely to be out injured for up to four weeks.

Troubled Barcelona was dealt a new blow ahead of the start of the Spanish league season when Luis Suarez was ruled out for a month with a knee injury on Thursday.

The Uruguayan striker suffered the injury in the second half of Wednesday night's 0-2 defeat away to Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup, although he played on to the end as Barcelona lost 1-5 on aggregate.

"Luis Suarez will be out of action for around four weeks. Tests carried out on Thursday morning confirm that the Uruguayan has a distension in the posterior articular capsule in his right knee picked up in the second half of the Clasico on Wednesday in the Santiago Bernabeu," said Barcelona in a statement in English published on its website.

The news means Suarez will miss Barcelona's first three games of the season in La Liga, at home to Betis on Sunday, away to Alaves on August 26 and at home to Espanyol on September 9.

He will also miss Uruguay's World Cup qualifying ties against Argentina on August 31 and Paraguay on September 5 and is likely to sit out his club's first UEFA Champions League group game on September 12 or 13.

Barcelona also revealed that defender Gerard Pique is a doubt for the meeting with Betis due to a groin strain, meaning further bad news for the Spanish giant whose summer has been overshadowed by the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who is a target for Barcelona, has not recovered from a back injury and will miss Saturday's English Premier League match against Crystal Palace, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Coutinho, who submitted a transfer request last week according to British media reports, missed Liverpool's 3-3 draw at Watford last Saturday and the first leg of its UCL playoff, a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

"Phil is not available. Not in training so far," Klopp told reporters on Thursday, adding that he had nothing negative to say about the player's attitude.

Barcelona's sporting manager Pep Segura said on Wednesday that the Spanish club was "close" to signing Coutinho, despite Liverpool's manager and owners saying the 25-year-old is not for sale.

Nothing had changed

Klopp said on Thursday that nothing had changed with the club's stance.

"I don't know why other people are saying what they're saying (about Coutinho moving to Barcelona). I don't even know him (Segura). I have never met him," Klopp said.

"We are not silly, we know it is a very difficult situation — but there's nothing new to say. It's not always easy for me to say the 100 percent truth... But this time this is the situation."

Liverpool has had a relatively quiet transfer window compared to many of its rivals, signing defender Andrew Robertson, winger Mohamed Salah and striker Dominic Solanke.

The Reds have been linked in British media with moves for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, but both players' clubs have said they are not for sale at any price.

Fans have expressed frustration with Liverpool's failure to invest further in a squad that finished fourth in the EPL last season, but Klopp said that he was happy with the players he has already.

"The whole market is difficult," Klopp said.

"If the transfer window had ended yesterday we already have a team I like. The transfer window is a very important time, but it's also important what we do with the actual team."

The manager said striker Daniel Sturridge, who sustained a thigh injury in preseason, is fit to return for Liverpool's first home game of the season, which could prove a tough encounter.

Palace, which lost its opening match 0-3 at home to promoted Huddersfield, could become the first side to win four straight Premier League matches at Anfield.

"I am really looking forward to Anfield. It's our place. It's been a long time since we played there," Klopp said.

"We know it is a tough game. Probably both teams not overly happy (with their first games)."

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