Former Red Jason McAteer thinks that Coutinho is practically guaranteed to move to Barcelona at the end of this season, in the same manner Luis Suarez was at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Suarez was desperate to leave in 2013 but Liverpool refused a sale and asked for one more year, eventually selling in 2014 instead.
The situation mirrors the club’s current one with Coutinho, with Barca desperate to take the South American off our hands and the player equally desperate to move.
“I think it was another Luis Suarez situation: ‘Just give me one more season’.’Coutinho may have worried whether Barcelona would come back in for him but he was never a Neymar replacement,” McAteer told the Echo.
“Coutinho is a (Andres) Iniesta replacement. That’s what it’s for.
“Iniesta may have signed for life but he’s not going to play consistently next season or the season after. He’s on his way down.
“I feel that Coutinho was always his replacement and they will come back for him in the summer. I’ve got no doubt about it. I think the deal may have possibly already been done.”
We’re not convinced any actual arrangements have been put in place, but would be very surprised if the Brazilian is at Anfield next term.
There’s only so long you can keep a player at your club against his will, despite the lengthy contract he’s attached to.
However, Liverpool will not let Coutinho go cheap, as proven by the outrageous amounts we rejected in the summer.
It’ll cost upwards of £118m to secure him in 2018 then, especially considering the playmaker’s level is consistently rising and the market is set to further increase.
Let’s just hope we invest the money sensibly if and when it does come.