Jordan Henderson has admitted Liverpool are stronger without Philippe Coutinho and doubts whether the Brazilian will ever return to the club.

Coutinho was a much-loved figure at Anfield before he forced through a transfer to Barcelona in January 2018.

His time at the Nou Camp has not worked out as planned though, and his future with Barca remains uncertain ahead of his return from a spell on loan at Bayern Munich.

However Henderson feels Liverpool were able to recover quickly from the loss of their star man, and are now in a more prosperous position.

Asked by Spanish football expert Guillem Balague about the effect Coutinho's departure had on the club, Henderson told Sport: "I thought that it was going to be a big loss for us, it would be for any team.

Henderson does not think Coutinho will return to the club
Henderson does not think Coutinho will return to the club

"But I felt it was a moment to take a step forward. The guys lifted their performances and we fixed things without him quite well."

Coutinho has been linked with a switch back to Anfield, but Liverpool have come on leaps and bounds since his exit.

The money received from his initial £105million sale helped fund a move for Virgil van Dijk, with some cash left spare, and any return would likely cost a similar figure.

Jurgen Klopp made several efforts to keep hold of the player as he pushed to join Barcelona, and Coutinho has made it clear he would only come back to England to play for Liverpool.

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But Henderson feels there is little chance of the 27-year-old pulling on a Liverpool shirt again.

"The guys adore him, so if you ask any of them, I am sure they would say they would love to have him back, he added.

"But I think his time here has passed, he's moved and I hope that in the near future we see the same Phil that we saw here."