Tony Barret has seemingly revealed Jürgen Klopp’s plan for Philippe Coutinho and it points towards a long-term stay for the Brazilian.
When Philippe Coutinho signed a new contract worth £150,000-a-week back in January, fans were instantly divided. The Twitter pessimists felt it was an act of price tag protection ahead of a bid from Barcelona but the rest of us were instantly buoyed.
The huge boost in salary was seen as a statement of intent from the club in an effort to hold onto their best players and move away from the tag of being a ‘selling club.’
While rumours of a potential bid from Barcelona still circle – thanks for that Neymar Jr – the Reds are said to be increasingly confident of securing their top asset.
The Brazilian has enjoyed a stellar season so far despite missing a sizeable chunk with injury and has scored 13 goals while assisting a further 9 for team mates in 35 appearances across all competitions.
The key to convincing Coutinho to remain on Merseyside? A “sales pitch” from Jürgen Klopp explaining his long-term future plan for the Brazilian, according to Tony Barrett.
The plan was revealed to the rest of us against West Ham last weekend when the Brazilian was fielded in a central, deeper role. This gave him greater influence over the Reds attacks and allowed him to be consistently involved without sacrificing his attacking threat. To say it was a success is an understatement.
The Brazilian created his most chances ever in a Premier League game – six – and was involved in three goals for the first time in a Liverpool shirt as he assisted Daniel Sturridge’s opener before banging in two strikes of his own.
Coutinho’s role this season has predominantly been as one of an attacking trio but against sides who look to sit deep and frustrate their opposition, his threat has often been negated by the need to drop deep to get involved. Klopp hopes to negate this problem by adding another attacker to his ranks this summer, giving him the option to field Coutinho as one of the number 8s in his preferred 4-3-3.
He would remain on the left of the attacking trio in games expected to be played in an open, expansive manner but against sides who look to sit in a low block behind the ball, his presence from deep would add an extra attacking dimension to Jürgen Klopp’s XI.
Klopp was also able to drive home the point that Coutinho is simply the Reds most important player currently at the club. Barrett reveals that the Brazilian was told, “Stay here, and they will end up building a statue in your honour. Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”
This is a real statement of belief in his star man from Klopp and with that backing and responsibility it’s no wonder Coutinho has been in such magical form in recent months. I for one look forward to seeing him hopefully linking back up with the likes of Firmino, Lallana and Mané on Europe’s biggest stage next season.