Jurgen Klopp’s objectives in the offseason including building a squad that can compete in Europe, improving a defence that has shipped 42 goals this season and keeping Philippe Coutinho at the club.
The third point in that list might just be the most difficult for the Liverpool manager to pull off.
Coutinho has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona. Earlier in the week, Spanish outlet Sport claimed the Brazilian playmaker had agreed to move to the Camp Nou as initial talks between the player’s party and Barcelona got underway.
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While Liverpool could offer Coutinho Champions League football next season, there’s no doubting that the 24-year-old could fulfil his potential in Spain.
And it’s not as if Coutinho wouldn’t know anybody in the Barcelona dressing room. Former Liverpool star Luis Suarez would welcome him, while Neymar is a close friend.
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Coutinho’s international teammate admitted earlier this year that the Liverpool maestro would “totally fit” at the Camp Nou.
"A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho," Neymar said, per ESPN FC.
"I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona."
Both Suarez and Neymar will be key in Barca’s play to persuade Coutinho to leave Anfield.
Suarez revealed in his autobiography, Crossing the Line, how he often mentored Coutinho during their time together at Liverpool.
In the 2013-14 season, Liverpool faced Manchester City in April. The Reds, managed by Brendan Rodgers, were top of the table at the time and, with five games remaining, had the Premier League title in sight.
What Suarez said to Coutinho before 3-2 win
And Suarez felt the need to remind Coutinho of his talent, and not to get frustrated if he didn’t see much of the ball, in the dressing room before kick-off.
“I had Philippe Coutinho alongside me and I was talking to him,” Suarez said. “He’s only twenty-one and he’s a phenomenal player - he picks a pass in a split-second before a defender has had the time to think - but he gets frustrated if he’s not on the ball.
“I told him he didn’t need to worry or get wound up. I’m a good friend of his, but we’d argued in the past out on the pitch.
“That afternoon, I told him he didn’t need to prove anything because he was one of the best players in his position in the world. Don’t get distracted: relax, just play.”
Suarez’s words apparently did the trick. With the score 2-2, Coutinho popped up to score the winner in the 78th minute as Liverpool boosted their title chances.
Video: Coutinho scores the winner
We all know how that season panned out, however.
Months after that near miss, Suarez left for Barca; Coutinho could be about to do the same.
Should Coutinho join Suarez at Barca? Let us know in the comments section below!
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