Monday 19 February 2018

Jurgen Klopp has explained why Philippe Coutinho will stay at Liverpool next season

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho

Mark Critchley

Jürgen Klopp is confident that Philippe Coutinho will stay with Liverpool beyond the summer as the Brazilian playmaker knows the club made him the player that he is today.

Since arriving as a 20-year-old for just £8.5million in 2013, Coutinho has improved year-on-year and blossomed into one of Europe’s most coveted creative players.

Barcelona are believed to be interested in acquiring the Brazil international and, despite the player committing himself to a new five-year Liverpool contract in January, reports suggesting he could leave Anfield this summer persist.

Klopp, however, believes that Coutinho’s development since joining from Internazionale has been so substantial that the player is convinced he is in “the right place” and has no desire to leave.

“He became this player at Liverpool,” Klopp said ahead of his side's trip to West Ham United this weekend. “He knows about this. That is what is really special about him. He really likes being here, it’s not like someone has to force him. His family really likes it too.

“Philippe, we all know how strong he can be. Can we work on different things? Yes of course,” he added.

“That would make us stronger for sure, having this creativity in the middle of the park. He would have to adapt to that. He is young, full of talent and I’m pretty sure he thinks he is in the right place.”

Earlier this week, one Spanish newspaper claimed Coutinho had already held talks with Barcelona over a £76m transfer, but Klopp is paying little attention to such reports.

“Before he signed the new contract there were rumours, after he signed the contract there were rumours. What can you do to stop the rumours? I have no idea. That is the situation.

Liverpool will travel to the London Stadium today knowing they cannot afford to drop points if they wish to retain the initiative in the race for a top-four finish.

Klopp’s men could qualify for next season’s Champions League if they take all three points against Slaven Bilic’s side, provided that Arsenal suffer defeat a day earlier at Stoke City and Manchester United fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur in Sunday’s later kick-off.

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