By Aramide Oladipo

Joey Barton has criticised Liverpool for the way in which they have handled the Philippe Coutinho situation and he claimed that “you can’t blame the boy” for wanting to sign for Barcelona this summer.

The Reds have reportedly rebuffed a number of bids from the La Liga side who are attempting to land the 25-year-old playmaker in the transfer window.

The potential deal no longer looks on the cards as Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague recently revealed on his official Twitter account that Liverpool have ignored a deadline set by Barcelona concerning a summer move for Coutinho.

Speaking to the Alan Brazil Breakfast Show on TalkSPORT on Monday (August 21, 6am), Barton believes that the Reds should have been better prepared and he is certain that Coutinho will find a way to force a move away from Anfield.

“He [Coutinho] wants out, and if you’re getting up to what are they now, almost £120million, it just looks like how much rather than if or when,” he said.

“No disrespect to Liverpool, but that’s the club Brazilian youngsters grow up wanting to play for nowadays.

“It’s not the Liverpool of the 80s, it’s Liverpool who haven’t won a title for over 20 years, so you can’t blame the boy.

“They should have known a big club was going to come sniffing for him and, although he’s difficult to replace, they should have had replacements lined up for him.”

Despite playing in pre-season, the Brazilian has not been involved in any of Liverpool’s competitive matches throughout the new campaign, citing a back injury.

The Reds have coped well without the playmaker, remaining unbeaten in all competitions and picking up victories in two of them, including an important 2-1 away win in the Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim.

Coutinho still has five years remaining on his current contract at Anfield.

In other Liverpool news, Garth Crooks has compared this Reds ace to a Germany international legend after his display against Palace on Saturday.

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