By Joe Harker
Liverpool avoided losing talented player Philippe Coutinho in the summer, as Barcelona were very interested in making him a part of their midfield. Despite a huge financial offer from the Catalan club, Liverpool stuck to their guns and held onto their man.
However, that may have been a short term victory as Coutinho could end up moving in the January transfer window. A reported £106 million has been offered, though Liverpool might ask for more.
Bleacher Report suggests that Barcelona "won't go crazy" with attempts to sign Coutinho in January, but the player himself might want to push through a move. Despite signing a new five year deal at the beginning of the year it would be hard to turn down Barcelona and he might believe he is ready to make the step up. Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez joined Barcelona in a big money move and is sure that Coutinho has thought about doing the same.
Former Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson believes that the club made a mistake not selling Coutinho in the summer and fully expects him to leave in the January transfer window. The money from his sale could have funded other transfers that would have replaced him in the team.
ESPN has reported on a rift between the player and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, with the implication that it could push Coutinho to force a move away from the club. If he does not want to play for Klopp then he might push harder for a move, which might make Liverpool decide they'd rather have money they can reinvest in the squad rather than keep a talented player who is unhappy with the manager.
Klopp is insistent that Liverpool must make Coutinho and others like him want to stay at the club. If other clubs are seen as far more lucrative than Liverpool then they will continue to lose their best players, so they must create an environment of success where players come to compete at the highest level and challenge for the top accolades. Otherwise, there will be more like Coutinho who decide they want to leave.
However, some fans have started to question whether the team would be better off without him. While he is one of their best players, results this season have been better without him in the team. If Liverpool can sell him and reinvest the huge transfer fee into two or three new players then they could be in a stronger position. Perhaps it is time to sell.