Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana insists the club must hold onto Philippe Coutinho if they want to fulfil their hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and the Champions League.
Barcelona’s interest in the Brazil international has remerged this summer with the La Liga giants said to have made an offer of €80m (£71.6m, $93.1m) in recent days. Paris Saint-Germain have also been closely linked with the 25-year-old playmaker, who signed a new long-term contract at Anfield in January this year.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has sought to swiftly stomp out speculation over Coutinho’s future, however, insisting he is not for sale at any price.
Like his manager, Lallana is not surprised to see the former Inter Milan schemer linked with Europe’s elite, but hopes he remains on Merseyside as the club’s ambitions grow.
“He is a fantastic player, it’s no surprise that there are teams interested in him,” Lallana said at a press conference in Hong Kong. “There is probably teams interested in a host of other players in our squad. But I feel we are going to achieve big things here, I’m sure Phil [Coutinho] is going to be a big part of that.
“He’s in that elite bracket, there is no reason why he can’t continue to be in that bracket and achieve huge things here at Liverpool Football Club. We are a massive club, we are in the Champions League, okay we need to qualify [for the group stages], but if we want to win competitions like that we need to hold onto players like that.”
Coutinho has been tipped as a long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta at the Nou Camp and with Barcelona looking increasingly likely to be in for a substantial financial windfall amid talk of a sensational €222m move for Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, they could find themselves in a position to increase their bid for the Liverpool star. However, the Premier League side are insistent the player is not for sale.