- Rickie Lambert says Liverpool should have let Philippe Coutinho leave in the summer
- Brazilian lodged formal transfer request in attempt to move to Barcelona
- Lambert urges Reds to keep Brazilian over January
- SEE MORE: LFC star wanted by La Liga club as replacement for star striker
Rickie Lambert insists Liverpool have no reason to sell Philippe Coutinho in January having fought so hard to keep him at the club in August.
The Reds are preparing for another bombardment of Barcelona bids, with the Catalan club expected to reignite their pursuit having seen three offers for the Brazilian rejected in the summer.
Owners Fenway Sports Group, who so often divide Liverpool fans, earned mutual respect as they firmly refused to sell Coutinho for any price.
Lambert believes the club have good reason to maintain that stance when Barcelona come calling after the turn of the year.
That said, the former Liverpool striker also told BBC Radio Five Live Sport that the club should have granted the No.10 his wish to move to the Nou Camp.
Anger from fans wasn’t fuelled by Coutinho’s desire to play for Barcelona, but instead the manner in which he handled the saga.
Lodging a formal transfer request a day before Liverpool’s season opener at Watford inevitably went down poorly with fans, as did his prolonged spell on the sidelines with a dubious back injury.
He has since rebuilt bridges with an admirable response on the pitch, maintaining his same work ethic and rediscovering his top form for the Reds.
Klopp and the fans deserve at least one more big season from Coutinho. To give him up in January would diminish all the hard work it took to keep him.