Every summer there’s always some speculation that Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be lured away by a bigger club. It never quite comes together, but this summer there was a close call. Barcelona, back on their bullshit and possibly preparing for life after Neymar, approached Liverpool with an offer for Coutinho. The Catalan giants reportedly offered a transfer fee of around £72 million. That’s enough to give any club pause.
But the Reds held firm and told Barcelona “we good fam.” Soon after, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp made one thing very clear: Coutinho is not for sale at any price.
Talking to reporters after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Leicester in Hong Kong, Klopp talked at further length about the decision to keep Coutinho at Anfield. Beyond the obvious reasons— he’s a tremendous player and a productive goalscorer, and he’ll be critical to both Liverpool’s Champions League campaign and, gods willing, a run at the Premier League title— Klopp also offered a more humane rationale. Namely— Coutinho’s love for the club he plays for and the city he now calls home.
“Everyone knows that Phil Coutinho is a key player for us. I know that he feels completely more than fine, comfortable, whatever, in Liverpool. He loves the club and the city— that's clear. That he's able to play like that tonight in a very difficult moment of the pre-season after all these sessions is good to see. That shows his big potential.”
A reporter asked for more details on Klopp’s private conversations with Coutinho, to which the manager replied that those conversations are just that— private.
Klopp also talked about his squad’s performances in the PL Asia Trophy.
“It was clear that not everything in defense would work with these boys together. It had big offensive potential. We scored two wonderful goals and then in the second half after the changes we were a bit wild going for the third goal and gave Leicester some opportunities on the counter attack. Yes, we want to create more chances but no risky passes. At the moment it's about showing up and getting fit. None of these boys need to convince me because I am already convinced. It's about us helping them to get in the best shape we can.”
The team are scheduled to return home sometime today.