Under pressure Liverpool have told Barcelona that they can have transfer target Phillipe Coutinho, if the La Liga club are willing to offer Luis Suarez in a direct player for player swap.
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A source close to the Anfield club suggested that Liverpool’s tongue-in-cheek response was designed to slow the Catalan giants down, ahead of an expected third bid of £100m for the Brazilian, later this week.
Coutinho; who handed in a transfer request on Friday, has set his mind on following Liverpool old-boy Suarez to Barcelona. Playmaker Coutinho missed Liverpool’s opening match of the season, the 3-3 draw away to Watford at the weekend. He is also expected to miss Liverpool’s return to the Champions League, in their qualifying round away to Hoffenheim tomorrow evening.
Liverpool fans may take some consolation in the knowledge that Suarez; who tried to exit the club at the end of the 2012-13 season, buckled down to score 31 goals in the 2013-14 season, helping the Reds to second place in the league, a mere two points behind Champions Manchester City.
Many at Anfield would settle for a similar outcome in the Coutinho saga, allowing the club twelve months to replace their little magician. Only time will tell whether the club will be afforded the luxury.
As for the club’s offer to take Suarez back, it seems unlikely that the Uruguayan star would retrace his steps to Liverpool, particularly when he’s at the peak of his powers in Spain. But we applaud Liverpool’s gutsy response.