Liverpool to rush Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino home on chartered jet for Merseyside derby

Ed Malyon
The Independent
Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are club and international team-mates: Getty
Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are club and international team-mates: Getty

Liverpool will charter a plane to fly home twinkle-toed pair Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ahead of the Merseyside derby.

The attacking tandem have been in Brazil for World Cup qualifiers, but the Reds are keen to keep them as fresh as possible for the clash with Everton.

Coutinho, who is hoping to continue his unbeaten run in the Merseyside derby, believes the fixture is just as intense for players as it is for fans.

The Liverpool number 10 has scored twice in seven cross-city encounters since joining the Reds in January 2013, enjoying two wins and five draws.

He missed the last-gasp victory at Goodison Park in December as he was injured, but is keen to reacquaint himself with the fixture this weekend at Anfield.

“The rivalry is like any derby - it's intense,” said Coutinho, who previously experienced the Derby della Maddonina against AC Milan during his time at Internazionale.

“I've experienced these games both home and away and the intensity is equal with the fans. You're always on TV, it's one of the most difficult games and I don't think this one will be any different.

“The week before the game, you can't wait to play and if you win, the level of joy you give to the fans is amazing. They're the victories you always enjoy.”

There is plenty at stake in the 228th Merseyside derby with Ronald Koeman's seventh-placed side just six points behind the Reds, in fourth.

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