Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool are right to demand at least one more year from Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian handed in a transfer request.
Barcelona have seen two bids of £72million and £92million rejected for the 25-year-old so far, and are expected to return with a third offer potentially upwards of £100million.
The understanding is that Coutinho is eager to make his dream move to the Nou Camp, although Liverpool remain insistent that he is not for sale at any price.
Gerrard feels the playmaker owes the Reds at least 12 more months having only signed a new deal at the club back in January this year.
“The problem here are Barcelona, because they will be saying to Coutinho’s representatives: ‘It’s now or never. If he doesn’t come now, we’re never coming back for him ever again.’ So they’re piling the pressure on and that’s why Philippe’s reacted,” the Anfield legend said on BT Sport.
“This kid who’s come from South America has always had a dream of playing for Barcelona, and he’s panicking thinking that if he doesn’t do it now it’ll never happen again.”
“I know the kid, I know he’s not a bad person, I know he doesn’t want to cause a war to come out. But at the end of the day he’s just signed a five-year deal, the club have been superb to him and made him the player he is.”
“You remember he was struggling at Inter. We gave him the chance, we built this player up. The least he can do is give the club another year.”
ICYMI: The #PLTonight team discussed the Philippe Coutinho transfer saga.
Will he stay or will he go? 👀pic.twitter.com/Ku8SEjI61l
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) August 13, 2017
If Coutinho is talented enough to play for Barcelona, which most will agree he certainly is, then the Catalan giants will still be around for him next summer.
He finds himself on the brink of taking his game to a world class level, and it can be argued another season at Liverpool gives him an excellent chance of achieving that.
The platform is there for him to emerge as Klopp’s standout talisman and make the kind of leap that sees him mould into the player his teammates can turn to in a time of need.
No team wants an unhappy player at the club, but Liverpool must do everything they can to keep hold of him.