Connect in the back of the net

A dramatic and rather alarming headline has been circulating the media over the past week – the sharks that are FC Barcelona are hunting Philippe Coutinho again.

Only this time, they’ve made an offer and rumours are flying about that ex-teammate Luis Suarez could be the key to sealing the deal.

It’s no secret that Barcelona have been after the Brazilian since the Klopp era began, but it was mostly harmless hearsay. However this time round, the La Liga side are hungry to clinch the little magician, claiming he would be a vital part in their game play.

Liverpool are adamant the number 10 is not for sale and are under no pressure to sell up after a new five-year contract was signed by Coutinho in January.

 

Separating the truth from the rest

Many of his teammates have bid goodbye to Anfield since Klopp has taken over, but Phil has confirmed he is more than happy at the club, his family are comfortable and settled and they love the city and the people.

I mean, why wouldn’t they?

But reports claim he is willing to accept a pay cut to help force the move to La Liga, and now that Barcelona midfielder Rafinha is on Klopp’s radar, talks are in the air about this being a promising asset to finalising the transaction.

It’s difficult as a fan to trust which sources are credible and which ones are just trying to stir the pot – this whole escapade is a bubbling cauldron filled with white lies, twisted information and mostly just reporters trying to throw their two pence in.

Fans are climbing the walls trying to find some truth in the articles and the Twitter posts, but the painful part is that waiting is the only solution.

 

An unjust offer

After the decline of the £72 million approach from Barca, Coutinho has shown no change in commitment, performance or attitude.

Maybe he knows what we’re all thinking and agrees the bid for him is laughable if not offensive. Especially considering it’s even lower than Romelu Lukaku’s price tag of £75m.

Paul Pogba’s transfer fee also broke the bank after his £89m move to Manchester Utd – must be something in José Mourinho’s water that makes him throw stupid money at average footballers.

Two bland, unmotivated players, one whose best talent is dabbing and the other who is known more for being mistaken for Stormzy than his game play. Going by these guidelines, Klopp should be expecting the full £196m Barcelona will receive for Neymar Jr as an increased offer and an apology note reassuring us that they were jesting with their first bid.

Granted, Lukaku netted his fair share of goals last season, but most were measly tap ins, taking the limelight away from the hard work a teammate underwent to set it up. His play is limp in comparison to the way Phil can storm the pitch and weave in and out of defenders.

Mourinho has even admitted that Real Madrid were dishonest about United’s prime target Alvaro Morata’s availability, resulting in them missing out on the striker to reigning champions Chelsea.

In other words, Rom wasn’t particularly an important spot in the periscope to begin with. Oops.

 

Why Coutinho needs to stay

Coutinho is a wonder; nobody can deny his ability on the ball when he’s on top form. But even during his more quieter spells on the pitch, his footwork and passing and his ability to get into crucial spaces are all game changers.

His passion for the club is one of the most important things in a Liverpool fan’s book – the legacy behind the badge is something that a player should be proud to wear on his chest.

His popularity within the team is wonderful to watch – he’s made brilliant friendships with the rest of the boys, especially with fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino and former skipper Steven Gerrard was a big fan of the lad too.

The chemistry he’s created outside of the pitch shines through during his performances; his linking up between Firmino and Mané is a dream to watch and we can only expect more in this coming season.

 

Essential

The Reds’ 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin yesterday featured Coutinho’s first half captaincy and a truly sublime assist to Mohammed Salah’s closing goal.

His eye for picking out players is essential to Liverpool’s tactics and although he’s often criticised for shooting and missing from range, his ability to chip keepers and score absolute worldies from outside the box is something we must hang onto if we want another shot at the title next season.

The promise of a decent Champions League stab is surely enough to keep the magician in a red shirt for at least one more year, as well. So for now, Barcelona can keep their regular CL appearances in their utility belt.

I’m sure our number 10 would rather return European glory to Liverpool, anyway – doesn’t it get boring winning all the time? Got to keep the fans on their toes, Barca.

No van Dijk, Keita or even Neymar could play the part that Coutinho plays in the squad, he’s priceless to the team and to the fans. I hope to see that cheeky white-toothed grin at Anfield for many more years to come and I hope to see his little face behind the raising of a cup that isn’t a pre-season friendly.

 

Written by Georgia Goulding

Follow Georgia on Twitter @gjgoulding

Check out her excellent football blog: Football, Findings and Fiction

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