After he handed in a transfer request earlier in the week, Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk continues to dominate the transfer talk in Liverpool land, but after missing the friendly with Athletic Bilbao at the weekend with a sore back, talk of Reds talisman Philippe Coutinho moving to Barcelona hasn’t quieted one bit with conflicting reports of the club’s eagerness to do business with the Catalan giants doing the rounds.
“I think he will stay. I think Liverpool will have him for 12 months,” said Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher. “He will want to go. Who wouldn’t want to go? It’s Barcelona. Coutinho will want to wear that shirt and there’s nothing wrong with that,” continued the Reds legend. “But I don’t think there’s any way Liverpool will sell him. Not a chance of him going. I think the owners are in a position where they can’t afford to let him go,” added the Sky Sports pundit. “This window hasn’t been good for Liverpool. There would be a riot if he went – against the owners and against the club.”
Heading in to the opening weekend of the Premier League, the Brazilian has done nothing either publicly or behind the scenes to suggest that he’s going to push for a move to the Nou Camp, but with the transfer widow closing down and Barcelona almost certain to draft in a replacement for Neymar before September rolls around, the chance to pull on that famous striped shirt might not roll around again. That, of course, will suit Reds supporters — and Anfield supremo Jurgen Klopp — just fine, but the appeal could very well be too much for the Little Magician.
“I don’t think you can [keep him],” said former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness. “The chance to play for a team that would suit his style of play, I don’t think he can say no to it, as hard as that is for Liverpool to accept,” conceded the Scotsman. “Ultimately if he wants to go he will go, as much as the club won’t want him to. He’s on a contract but if the big players want to go these days then they get their own way.”