Talks with Philippe Coutinho’s representatives over a new contract have begun as Liverpool seek to extend and improve the Brazilian’s terms. Coutinho has three years left on his current deal that expires in 2020.
There were rumours of a big contract extension in October to ward off interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. Julian Draxler—who prefers to operate on the left like Coutinho—moved to PSG this month, and Barcelona’s interest may not be as strong as previously believed. In any case, Coutinho appears happy and settled at Anfield under the charismatic Jürgen Klopp.
The 24-year-old has played an important role as part of a dynamic and exciting front three alongside compatriot Roberto Firmino and summer signing Sadio Mané. All three are in their mid-twenties and shine individually as well as collectively. It is just as important to secure their future as it is to provide enough depth and support in the transfer window. Liverpool should have the resources and the nous to successfully do both.
Coutinho has recently returned from an ankle injury sustained against Sunderland towards the end of November but is still gaining match fitness. Liverpool’s number ten was in such fine form before his injury with five goals and five assists from the left of a front three. A propensity to shoot far too frequently from distance has been reduced under Klopp, making Coutinho a less predictable opponent.
With Adam Lallana in midfield and Sadio Mané on the other flank, Coutinho can work the ball into spaces where his chances of scoring are higher. His ability to score from free-kicks and outside the area remain a weapon that can be called upon as defences sit deeper or give away fouls in dangerous areas. His willingness to work off the ball in both defence and attack ensures that he is not a luxury player in a hard-running, counter-pressing, and high intensity system.
One of the Premier League's best and most talented players will hopefully agree terms that reflect his importance to a club that's moving forward. Liverpool have shown a willingness to offer competitive contract extensions and should reiterate that stance with Coutinho. Now onto questions surrounding timed news to cover transfer market failures and release clauses of doom.