LIVERPOOL - Jurgen Klopp is focused on recreating fabled Anfield nights as the Liverpool manager revealed Philippe Coutinho has been absent from Melwood this week.
Coutinho, who has angled for a move to Barcelona all month, has been kept away from the club’s training base with an illness ahead of Wednesday night's Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim.
Klopp rejected suggestions the pair’s relationship had deteriorated and claimed Coutinho - also said to be nursing a back problem - would be straight back in contention once he was ready to return.
"Phil is a bit sick so the last few days he was not even at Melwood," Klopp said. "Emre Can also struggled a little with this, just a cold. He was back training today but Phil was not back because the risk of spreading was too big."
Asked if he would welcome the Brazilian back, Klopp replied: "Of course. You asked is everything OK between us? I answered with of course. Yes, 100 per cent."
Coutinho’s situation was not overshadowing Liverpool’s preparations ahead of a night their manager happily labelled a final.
Klopp claimed he was not heading for bed with dread and implored his stars to embrace the occasion, as many of them did against Borussia Dortmund here in that Europa League quarter-final just 16 months ago.
"In life it doesn’t make a lot of sense that if you have a big chance you think about the consequences if you lose it," he said. "In finals you go for it and try your best. Is it good to be in a final? Yes. Is it good to lose it? No.
"I will not think about this when I am at home in my bed and thinking about the game. I am not going to say to the players 'Oh think about what will happen if we don’t do it'. There are enough people around who think like this.
"I know it is a legend of Anfield on European nights, they are really special. Everyone who wants this needs to do their job. I hope we will show the world what we are able to do.
"We improved already from the Watford game. The big difference between the game last week and now is that everybody knows how strong the opponent is. Usually people in England think you get fourth place and you are automatically through but this year it is different. It (progressing) would be a statement."