Jake Humphrey Exclusive: “Coutinho Will Go”

BT Sport is where the best in domestic and European football go head to head, and while Liverpool could challenge for the top four in the Premier League again this season, it looks like they may have to do it without their star man.

Philippe Coutinho looks all but set to join Barcelona, replacing world-record departure Neymar in the Catalan’s attack, with an accepted bid all that stands in the way of the move happening.

A bid for the Brazilian is believed to be in excess of £100 million, and BT Sport presenter, Jake Humphrey, believes the Reds have a huge decision to make regarding Coutinho.

“They’ve got a decision to make on Philippe Coutinho and I think he’ll go, I really do.

“What he doesn’t need to do is leave Liverpool on a sour note. He needs to work out a way of this deal happening to appease Liverpool and their fans because when Barcelona come calling, you go.

“The thing is, it’s not like Steven Gerrard going to Barcelona, he’s not a local lad, not a scouser, not grown up loving the club. He’s over come over here to play for Liverpool and as a player, when one of the biggest teams in the world comes in, you have your head turned.

“I feel really sorry for the fans because it seems like every time they are getting somewhere, a big player walks away, whether that be Coutinho or Luis Suarez before him.

“Coutinho has the same agent as Suarez so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are having those conversations. That has an impact.

“It is a real shame if he goes because he is one of the best players in the Premier League and the challenge for Liverpool is replacing him, because it’s not going to be easy.”

Mohamed Salah may be a ready-made replacement for the Brazilian, and Humphrey is a huge fan of Liverpool’s club-record signing.

“I think Salah is a fantastic footballer who has already shown in pre-season that he’s got what it takes to cut it at Liverpool.

“Salah helps soften the blow of Coutinho going.”

Andrew Robertson and Dominic Solanke have also arrived at Anfield this summer but, so far, missing out on big targets such as Virgil van Dijk, as well as not strengthening key areas has been the talking point of Liverpool’s transfer window.

Humphrey believes that Reds fans should be frustrated by the clubs summer business.

“I think Liverpool fans should be frustrated.

“They need defensive reinforcements.

“How have Arsenal got hold of Sead Kolasinac or how does Jurgen Klopp not know of some amazing left-back in the Bundesliga? That’s the question I’d be asking as a Liverpool fan because they need to strengthen in that position.

“I don’t quite know what’s happening with van Dijk but it’s crystal clear he wants to go.

“I think maybe Southampton are waiting until the very end of this transfer window and if another club comes in that they’d rather do business with because they feel wronged by Liverpool they might do that.

“But, come the end of the window, if no one comes in for him, they might do a deal with Liverpool. You almost feel that they should have just done this and got it over the line already though.

“You see other clubs around strengthening and doing business but it’s not cheap to get players these days.

“But a club with a turnover like Liverpool, they should be spending that money and the fans deserve that. They are fantastic and they deserve to see their team challenge for the title. To do that, they need to spend money.”

Because of this, Humphrey believes that a top four finish is beyond Liverpool and this could put a bit of pressure on manager Jurgen Klopp if it happens.

“Klopp has been in charge for a season and a half now.

“He’s made two finals, the League Cup final and Europa League final, losing them both. So he has to start showing he can win trophies and titles.

“I think if he doesn’t win something this season, he will be told in no uncertain terms that he has one more season to win something or they’ll turn their attention to a new project.

“The pressure on him this year is huge.”

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