Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have the potential to be Premier League title contenders.
However, their progress this summer has been summed-up by their struggles to sign key transfer targets, so far such as Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita.
The Reds may still make significant moves in the transfer market. However, more of a worry could be the exit of Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
Spanish giants Barcelona are reportedly confident of signing the attacking midfielder as a replacement for Neymar, who looks set for a world-record move to PSG.
Barcelona are confident of Coutinho signing
According to Catalan newspaper Sport, the Barcelona hierarchy are confident of signing Coutinho this summer. The club from Catalonia have reportedly already seen bids rejected for Coutinho, but will intensify their interest if Neymar completes his big-money move to Paris.
Barcelona would no doubt have to replace Neymar with a high-profile star and Coutinho would fit the bill. Coutinho and Neymar are friend’s off the pitch and there are reports that the Barcelona forward has attempted to persuade Coutinho to snub Barcelona in favour of a switch to the French capital.
I doubt that would go down with financial fair play overlords FIFA. It seems unlikely that both Brazilian internationals will be heading to Paris anyway.
Liverpool cannot afford to lose Coutinho
It is true that Liverpool have a good stock of attacking midfielders, including Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and of course new signing Mohamed Salah. However, Coutinho is the brains behind the operation.
He is the player that adds the flair and creativity to the Reds team. Last season when he was sidelined Klopp’s team struggled and their title bid fell apart. Every top team have a special player and Liverpool’s is Philippe Coutinho.
Not only would selling Coutinho affect the team on the pitch. It would also feel like the Merseyside club are showing a lack of ambition by selling their best player. It would feel like the Reds were a selling club when they are trying to re-establish themselves as a major force in English football.
However, I suppose when the two Spanish giants come calling most English clubs are selling clubs, as proven by Real Madrid’s signings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and Barcelona’s capture of Luis Suarez in the last decade.
Any proceeds are likely to go towards new signings. However, if Coutinho leaves then it maybe a case of one-step forward last season and two back next season.
Difficult to see a Liverpool title challenge
I have to say it is difficult to envisage Liverpool having a chance at the Premier League title, with or without Coutinho next season. The Reds are currently odds of 12/1 to be crowned champions next May.
Those odds reflect the fact that as of yet the Merseysiders have not strengthened their squad significantly this summer. The Reds fell short last season of winning the title and clung on to a Champions League spot.
However, as Coutinho’s injury last season proved, the Reds need the Brazilian, even if they have now brought in Egyptian star Mohamed Salah. For me, it has not been a great summer for Liverpool in the transfer market, as they have not strengthened in key areas.
It will be a disaster if they lose their little Brazilian magician. All of the work that Klopp has done over the last few seasons may be wasted if the Reds lose Coutinho.
It is unclear if the stories about Coutinho heading to Barcelona are true or not. However, if they are, then I am sure Liverpool fans will be highly disappointed and angered by the Brazilian’s departure.
Will Philippe Coutinho join Barcelona this summer?
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