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Liverpool's Hopes Of Hanging Onto Philippe Coutinho Look Better Than Expected

Liverpool's Hopes Of Hanging Onto Philippe Coutinho Look Better Than Expected
By Gavin Cooney
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Liverpool seem caught in an eternal cycle: after a period of underachievement, they make a proper assault on the Premier League title, with the trade-off for competitiveness being the sale of their best player to either Barcelona or Real Madrid. They saw it with Xabi Alonso in 2009 and Luis Suarez in 2014, and now, the chatter surrounds Phil Coutinho, and the likelihood of him packing off to join Barcelona.

There are a number of factors that have seen the Coutinho/Barca link seem likely.

The first is the fact that Barca are getting to the stage where they must start planning for life after Andrés Iniesta, and Coutinho would fit the bill. He recently changed agent, and Coutinho seems to be best mates with Luis Suarez and Neymar. Coutinho has spent time with Suarez on both of the latter's trips to England for the Champions League, and he and Neymar were childhood friends.

Neymar hasn't exactly been quiet in his desire to play more regularly with his Brazilian teammate, and we don't think Neymar is angling for a more to Liverpool here:


And, from a Liverpool point of view, Coutinho is being increasingly reckless in scoring stunning goals for Brazil against Argentina  and in doing so, earning the respect and acclaim of Neymar, Messi and Javier Mascherano.

The following morning, this appeared in the Barca press:

But Liverpool are confident of this not materializing, however. Paul Joyce of the London Times reveals that, unlike with Suarez, Coutinho's contract does not have an escape clause setting a fee which Barca can match. Whereas Luis Suarez signed a contract in December 2013, it was an exercise in setting a £75 million release clause for a move to Barcelona. No such clause exists in Coutinho's most recent contract.


[The Times]

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