Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher fears the club could be powerless to keep star attacker Philippe Coutinho amid reported interest from Real Madrid.
Coutinho has enjoyed a fine start to the Premier League season, helping Liverpool emerge as a title contender, level on points with table-topping Manchester City heading into Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
The 24-year-old Brazil international has amassed four goals and two assists in nine league matches in 2016-17.
Coutinho’s exploits are believed to have alerted Madrid, with ex-striker Ronaldo expressing his desire for his countryman to make the move to the LaLiga giants.
And Carragher believes Coutinho is good enough to play for the world’s elite.
“There used to be a time when I would roll my eyes. Philippe Coutinho’s name would be mentioned alongside a team such as Real Madrid but I never took it seriously,” Carragher wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
“Coutinho at the [Santiago] Bernabeu one day? You could see in training the quiet lad Liverpool signed from Inter Milan in January 2013 was skilful and had ability but I wasn’t sure what I saw at Melwood would translate to the biggest stage, given some of the things he did in those early matches.
“Now look at him. Coutinho has become one of the stars of the Premier League, the driving force behind Liverpool’s impressive early form and the key to them sustaining what could yet become a challenge for the title. I’m not rolling my eyes any longer.
“He is playing at such a level that you could put him in the No 10 position of any of Liverpool’s rivals — Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United — and he would fit in seamlessly and enhance their quality.”
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