'We must improve to keep players like Coutinho' admits Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are striving to create circumstances that will ensure Philippe Coutinho wants to stay at Anfield beyond this season.
But the Anfield manager says his side should be judged on their yearly progress rather than whether they can realistically catch and keep pace with Manchester City to win the title. Barcelona will continue their pursuit of the Liverpool midfielder, who had a transfer request denied in August.
Klopp was asked if an informal agreement is in place to allow Coutinho to leave next summer in a situation that would echo Luis Suarez’s career path.
Suarez was eventually allowed to move from Anfield to the Nou Camp in 2014, a year after a transfer request – in his case wanting to join Arsenal – was rejected.
“I’ve no clue. We will see. We don’t talk about things like this,” said Klopp (right). “Can you imagine what it would be like if I said ‘yes we have an agreement’?
“In this moment, the 100pc truth is that nobody thinks about this. We have other moments when we have to talk about these things but not in October.”
Klopp said if Liverpool continue to improve it is less likely that Coutinho, and others, would look elsewhere.
“In general, as a club, we have to still create a situation where players want to be part of it with all they have,” said Klopp.
However, having gone into the season harbouring title ambitions, Klopp has delivered a reality check as a result of City’s start, allied to Liverpool early-season difficulties.
“We are still in the race, not with City in the moment because they have, I don’t how many points,” he said.
“I don’t say already we should only fight for top four.
“Performance-wise we should be there, but now we have to get the results. Position-wise I think it should be possible, but difficult with the few points we have given away.” (© Daily Telegraph, London)