Neymar is unlikely to win any popularity contests in the red half of Merseyside after claiming Philippe Coutinho would be a good signing for Barcelona.
Liverpool paid just £8.5million for the Brazilian playmaker in January 2013, after he mysteriously failed to make an impression at Internazionale. During a five year association in Italy, the 23-year-old played just 28 times in Serie A and had loan spells in his homeland with Vasco da Gama and in Spain with Espanyol, before the Nerazzurri eventually let him leave for good.
Coutinho has certainly rediscovered his best form whilst in England, and played a huge role when the Reds went within two points of winning their first league title since 1990 two years ago. He has gone on to make over 100 appearances in all competitions for Brendan Rodgers’ club, scoring 17 times, and is an integral part of their plans to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
But as he continues to impress with his performances, so too will the midfielder earn attention from rival clubs. Liverpool are still recovering from losing talisman Luis Suarez to Barcelona in a £75million deal last summer, so they are unlikely to welcome comments from his Camp Nou team-mate Neymar, who has revealed his opinion that Coutinho would be a good addition.
Now regarded as one of the best talents in world football, the 23-year-old has represented Brazil alongside Coutinho on a number of occasions. And speaking at a publicity event, he has raised the subject of a link-up at club level when he said: “I think there are many players that could play for Barcelona. One of them is Coutinho. He is great and his style suits Barcelona.”
Coutinho signed a new contract earlier this year which is designed to keep him at Anfield until the summer of 2020. Of course this could stand for nothing should Barcelona push for a transfer, but it at least protects the value of a player who has yet to enter his peak years. Even so, if Liverpool are to push for a regular place in the top-four, they can ill afford to let their number 10 leave.