Monday 17 December 2018

Philippe Coutinho left out of Liverpool squad as Barca speculation mounts

Philippe Coutinho was the subject of three summer bids by Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho was the subject of three summer bids by Barcelona
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Philippe Coutinho did not travel with Liverpool for their New Year's Day game against Burnley, amid mounting speculation that he will be the subject of a fresh transfer bid from Barcelona in this month's transfer window.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted his club did not need to sign Coutinho despite agreeing to pay a club record sign Virgil van Dijk for a club record £75m, with the events in the days since that deal was confirmed fuelling speculation of a fresh bid from Barcelona.

The Catalan giants failed with a serious of bids for Coutinho last summer, with the Liverpool standing firm on their decision not to sell their No.10 after he handed in a transfer request in August.

There is an expectation that Coutinho may move to Barcelona next summer, but Nike's website promotion of the Brazilian as a Barca player in what appeared to be a PR gaff on Saturday night added to speculation that he could move this month.

Mohamed Salah was also left out of the Liverpool travelling party after he picked up an injury in Saturday's 2-1 win against Leicester, but Coutinho's absence was a surprise, even though Klopp has been rotating his team on a regular basis in recent weeks.

All eyes will now be on whether Coutinho play in next Friday's FA Cup third round clash against Everton.

Liverpool team to play Burnley: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez; Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Solanke

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