Philippe Coutinho was put in an awkward position after scoring a hat-trick for Liverpool in their 7-0 demolition of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.
The Brazilian was involved in a post-match interview with Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher, conducted by former Premier League player Jan Age Fjortoft.
Carragher’s phone suddenly started to call when Fjortoft quipped: “It’s probably Barcelona, is it Barcelona?”
All three laughed at the joke and Carragher did a fine job of swerving the question.
Of course, there was no way the former centre-back was going to engage in a discussion about the rumours linking Coutinho with a move to the Camp Nou.
“I think the great thing for Philippe and Liverpool also is getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League,” Carragher said instead.
“He has to be playing in knockout stages, hopefully the quarter finals, semi finals and the final, anything you can think of. A player of that quality has to be there.”
Shearer spotted a cause for concern
Carragher is right. But the concern for Liverpool is that he has a better chance of appearing in Champions League finals if he moves to Barcelona.
The Spanish giants made three bids for Coutinho in the summer and are expected to renew their interest when the transfer window opens in January.
And Alan Shearer saw a sign from Coutinho on Wednesday that the Brazilian playmaker could leave Anfield next month.
Writing in his column for Coral, Shearer noted how Coutinho’s lack of celebration after each of his three goals could be a cause for concern.
“I watched Liverpool last night and was very interested to see Phillipe Coutinho barely celebrate despite scoring a hat-trick,” Shearer said.
“Could that be a sign that he’s off elsewhere in January?”
Watch: Coutinho doesn't celebrate his hat-trick goal
Liverpool fans will point out that Coutinho has never been one for exuberant celebrations.
Yet the 25-year-old failed to commit his future to the club when he spoke after the Spartak win.
“I don't know how the future is going to be,” Coutinho said, per the Mail. “What will happen in January, we will know it in January.
“I do not know if there will be an offer. I am at Liverpool and always do my best, respecting the jersey and supporters.
“Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested.
“Since I stayed, I have played with will and desire. It was a special night due to the result and because I had the armband.”
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