According to Guillem Balague of Sky Sports, Barcelona does not want to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer and it’s merely agent talk.
Last week, much to the horror of Liverpool supporters, TransferMarketWeb reported that a £51 million bid could catch the fancy of the Anfield hierarchy but Ballague, a far more reliable source, doesn’t believe there is any interest from Catalonia whatsoever.
During a live blog for Sky Sports, the Spanish journo said, “There are more stories coming out that Barcelona want Coutinho, and I think he might be willing to go, but Barcelona are not after him.
“It’s just moves the agents are making to try to convince Barcelona to move for him. But they do not want him.“
While Coutinho has been very hot and cold this season, he is undoubtedly an important cog in the Liverpool machine. With 10 goals and six assists this season, he has been important for Jürgen Klopp but there is room for improvement.
Although Liverpool has displayed frustrating inconsistency in their bid to secure qualification, the Reds miraculously hold onto the advantage and could still finish in the top four.
Drawing with Southampton on Sunday for the second time this season could have been the demise of this Liverpool team but Arsenal, of all teams, came to their rescue as goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck saw off Manchester United.
With two games to go, Liverpool has to finish in the top four to further their development this summer. That doesn’t just refer to signing the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Naby Keita but also holding onto ambitious players like Philippe Coutinho and even Emre Can who is yet to sign a contract extension.
Coutinho is a rare player on the left side of Klopp’s three-prong attack. With all the technical ability available to a Brazilian 24-year-old, it’s surprising that Coutinho’s work rate is often the most impressive aspect of his play.
How many wingers are there in the Premier League with Coutinho’s ability that are willing to work as hard as he is? Not many, I’d say. The likes of Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez are the rare exception to the rule and Coutinho is no different.
Forget signing new players this summer, just for a second and imagine the situation Liverpool would be in if they lost Coutinho. It’s arguable that holding onto the current crop of players is more important than signing new ones – there are some that need to make way for fresh impetus but Klopp has a good spine at Liverpool.
From top to bottom, Firmino, Coutinho and Mané are superb, Henderson is brilliant when injury-free and Emre Can is developing into a fine footballer, Nathaniel Clyne and Jöel Matip are quality defenders and you could even make a case for Simon Mignolet continuing his resurgence under Klopp into next season.
The only way Liverpool is going to progress in a timely manner is by qualifying for the Champions League. The current crop of players needs to gain experience at the highest level of club football as well as bringing in players that can take the hunt for silverware up a notch.
I am in no doubt that Klopp knows what to do and has the structures in place to get it done, but on the pitch, these players need to take the responsibility in the next two games. 180 minutes of football before an enjoyable summer can be had.
Or, 180 minutes before another brief interim before the next season starts at Liverpool has to rebuild, again.