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Balague claimed in a question-and-answer session about La Liga on the Sky Sports’ website on Monday that the Reds are set to fend off interest in the Brazilian playmaker next month.
The playmaker was the subject of a series of £100million-plus bids from the Catalan giants over the summer and reports has been making rounds that the Spanish giants are working on a deal to hijack him from Liverpool in the upcoming winter window.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted last week that the Brazilian could face the exit door as he stated of the player that “no-one knows what will happen in January”, while Coutinho subsequently admitted that he still wants to join the Spanish giants.
Balague, when asked if Coutinho will join Barcelona in January, the Sky Sports journalist said:
“Liverpool’s stance is the same, meaning right now they don’t want to negotiate with Barcelona. They are not sitting down with Barcelona and are not setting a price for him. In the summer, it will be a different story, but they have no intention of selling him right now.”
Guillem Balague’s update is good news to all Liverpool fans and exactly the report they want to hear weeks before the winter window opens. Speculation has been making rounds in Spain that Barcelona are confident of agreeing a deal with Liverpool for the Coutinho next month, but a move in the middle of the season is unlikely. It is inevitable that Coutinho will eventually quit Anfield, but Liverpool must keep him until the summer no matter who comes knocking. Were Liverpool to get manipulated to Barcelona’s desire to cough huge sums in order to get their prize asset in January, it would send out a disappointing message. To fans, to the team, to opponents.
Sure, Jurgen Klopp’s side have a new blend of attackers and hugely successful addition of Mohamed Salah into the Reds squad means Coutinho is not as important as he was six months ago. However, the Brazilian remains the outstanding member of the ‘Fab Four’, the one most capable of the piece of magic that tear apart best defences. Coutinho has seen the net nine times this season coupled with seven assists from 15 matches across all competition this season. The former Inter Milan man is too good to lose while trophies can still be won.