Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is worried that the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid will come calling for Philippe Coutinho in the not too distant future and that it will be “tricky” for the Reds to keep their man.
The Merseysiders have made a habit of offloading their biggest names in recent memory, with Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso and Luis Suarez having all left to join La Liga’s big two clubs, while stars such as Fernando Torres and Raheem Sterling have joined domestic rivals for huge fees.
Although big players have left, Liverpool have been able to secure replacements, and Coutinho appears to be the next in line to be the ‘main man’ and Anfield following his development since the start of the 2014/15 campaign.
And Gerrard, who left the club to join LA Galaxy over the summer, wrote in his new autobiography, My Story, Gerrard (cited by the Liverpool Echo), that he is concerned the Brazil international may be the next in line to leave the club for a bigger challenge:
“Philippe is wonderfully gifted and I expect him to become Liverpool’s leading player. Many Liverpool fans already regard him as our main man.
“He has just signed a new deal and he and his wife — who are a lovely couple — seem settled here.
“But I also know that the Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, will come looking for Philippe in a few more seasons, just like they did with Luis. And that’s when it will get tricky for Liverpool because the lure to go to one of those two clubs is so strong for any South American or Spanish player.
“Until that happens, Liverpool should really treasure Philippe.”
Gerrard also revealed that Suarez personally asked him to help Coutinho on and off the pitch when he left the club to join Barca in 2014:
“Before Luis Suarez left Liverpool’s training ground for the last time he spoke to me about Philippe Coutinho,
“‘Make sure you look after him,’” Luis said of Philippe.
“That told me how much Suarez rated Coutinho as a player. I knew they were close, because all the South Americans and Spaniards loved Luis.
“But it struck a chord with me when Luis singled out Philippe as our most special young talent. It echoed my own view.”