Klopp issues warning to Barcelona over Coutinho

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned Barcelona that the club will not consider allowing their star player to join the Spanish giants, reports The Mirror.

What’s the latest?

Coutinho has arguably become Liverpool’s best player over the last few seasons, and with that, comes transfer speculation.

The Brazilian was in scintillating form this season, scoring six goals and providing five assists in all competitions before he was struck down with an ankle injury.

The 24-year-old has been out of action for the past six weeks, but could make his return on Wednesday night in the first leg of Liverpool’s EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton at St Mary’s.

Throughout the season, Coutinho has been linked with a switch to Barcelona, but Klopp has insisted that the playmaker is not for sale. The German coach is quoted by The Mirror as saying:

“We never had any ideas or plans or any talks about him leaving, because he is our player – there are no other ideas, nothing has changed.

“Big clubs don’t think in this way unfortunately. It was not a big injury so there was no question of him not being the same player afterwards.

“It would be nice if big clubs forgot about a player completely because he’s been injured for five or six weeks. I’m not sure it’s like this though, but he is our player and that is it.”

Do Liverpool need to keep Coutinho?

In a word, yes. Not only that, they must do everything possible to make sure that the Brazilian is not lured away by the Catalan giants.

Liverpool had a similar problem a few years ago when Luis Suarez hit world-class form at Anfield, which prompted Barca to come calling.

The Reds managed to keep the Uruguayan for one more season before he left for Spain in the summer of 2014 to become one of Barcelona’s key attackers alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Arguably, Liverpool have the best attacking force seen at Anfield since Suarez graced the pitch, and with Klopp at the helm, the club are genuine title contenders.

To lose a player of Coutinho’s calibre would affect the Reds’ ability to challenge for future silverware, but the problem faced by Liverpool is that generally foreign stars, particularly those from South America, hold an ambition to play for Spain’s big two – Barcelona or Real Madrid.

At the moment, Coutinho seems content with life on Merseyside, but if the Reds crumble in their title bid or fail to finish in the top four this season, expect plenty of speculation over the playmaker’s future.