According to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Reds attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho is not for sale,
This statement comes despite reported interest from Spanish giants Barcelona in the Brazilian international.
Were even reports earlier today that the Reds had turned down a £72m bid from the Catalan giants for the star.
The 25-year-old is highly rated and his performances last season attracted admiring glances from elsewhere. It seems his future lies at Anfield, though.
Asked if Coutinho was not for sale Klopp is quoted by Sky Sports as saying: “Yes, that’s what you can say, but that’s not since this morning or yesterday, I’m not sure it was different at any time.
“Phil is a very, very important player, but we need to react better when he’s not on the pitch, that’s how it is.
“He was out for a few games [last season] and when he came back, he was not in the best shape to get back into his rhythm. With his quality, he has all the pressure to do it on the pitch. We have to be better in moments like this”
Higher level of consistency
Coutinho has always been a talented player, even prior to his move to Liverpool he was highly regarded at Italian club Inter. However, he has always had a habit of blowing hot and cold. One game he could be fantastic and the next he could struggle to make an impact.
However, in the last few seasons, he has reached a higher level of consistency. The Brazilian is scoring and creating more goals. He is also having a general bigger impact on his team’s performances as a whole.
Last season Coutinho produced 13 goals and seven assists in the Premier League for the Reds. Only an injury in November hampered him adding to that impressive tally.
Salah signing can ease creative strain
As Klopp stated Coutinho is a vital player for the Reds. When he performs, they are a different team. However, at times the Reds can be too heavily reliant on the Brazilian to be the creative fulcrum of the team.
When Coutinho sustained an injury last season, it seemed to end the Reds momentum and derailed their title hopes. The Brazilian will once again be Liverpool’s main creative force and is likely to thrive again once more.
However, this summer’s signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah could be the key to easing the creativity strain on Coutinho. The former-Chelsea star produced 12 assists in all competitions last season.
Salah arrived for a club-record fee. The fans expectations are high for the former Roma star in his second stint in the English top-flight.
Senegalese winger Sadio Mane can also lift the creative burden. The former Southampton star enjoyed a good debut campaign on Merseyside before also suffered an injury.
Liverpool not quite ready for a title challenge
For the first half of last season, Liverpool looked like they could actually be genuine contenders to win the Premier League title. However, a bad run of form around Christmas time coincided with Coutinho’s injury saw the Reds title hopes disappear over the horizon.
Klopp’s side are title outsiders this time around at odds of 12/1. The Merseysiders are the least fancied of last season’s top six to win the title in the new campaign.
Their position in the betting is understandable, as Salah is their only major summer signing. The Reds needed to strengthen their team and squad, much like some of their top seven rivals have done this summer.
Instead, the Merseysiders have suffered frustrated in their attempts to sign Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk and RB Leipzig star Naby Keita. Klopp may well manage to add players to his squad before the season kicks-off, but he may not.
It will be good news for the Reds if as expected they keep hold of Coutinho. However, it seems very unlikely that they can mount a title charge without the addition of new players this summer.
Can Coutinho help Liverpool to a title challenge in the new campaign?
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