Klopp welcomes summer interest in 24-year-old ace, as Euro giants reportedly circle
By Matt Bullin
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has claimed that the Reds will not bow to pressure from Spanish giants Barcelona and will hold onto Philippe Coutinho this summer, but has called the interest a ‘positive’.
The 24-year-old was substituted late on as the Reds beat West Brom 1-0 at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Coutinho’s fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino nodded home the only goal of the game as Klopp’s side claimed a vital three points.
The Catalan club are long-time admirers of the Brazilian maestro and have been linked with the player repeatedly.
Spanish news outlet Don Balon even reported that Barca were set to offer Ivan Rakitic as part payment on a deal.
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Barca star Neymar was quoted by the Daily Mail as wanting the 24-year-old to join him at the Catalonian club.
The latest development is one that the Anfield faithful will appreciate, however.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, Klopp has revealed that he will do all he can to hold onto the 23-time Brazil international and said interest in the player was a positive.
Klopp said of Barcelona’s interest: “Actually, I think it’s positive when there is interest.
“I am not concerned because I think Phil fits really well and comfortably here. We give the boys enough perspective that they really want to be part of this for the next few years.”
Coutinho has scored nine goals and made six assists in his 29 Premier League appearances this term
Since his £8.5million move from Inter Milan in 2013 the Brazilian has blossomed into a top-class player for the Reds and has contributed to 74 goals (38 goals, 36 assists) in his 176 league and cup appearances.
Liverpool fans will hope that Klopp’s comments are not an empty gesture as the 24-year-old will be needed if the Reds are to challenge in all formats next term.