John Barnes opens up about Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool
John Barnes explains why it is so important Liverpool keep hold of Philippe Coutinho in the coming seasons
John Barnes has described Philippe Coutinho as Liverpool’s “talisman” and says it is crucial that the Reds keep the Brazilian at the club for their future success.
The Brazilian playmaker has earned a reputation as one of the Premier League’s top attacking players since his arrival at the club from Inter Milan in January 2013.
Coutinho had scored nine goals and made six assists in the Premier League heading into Sunday’s clash with West Brom at The Hawthorns.
There has been speculation linking Coutinho with a possible move away from Liverpool in the future but Reds legend Barnes has stressed the importance of keeping the 24-year-old at the Anfield club.
Barnes told The Daily Express: “He’s our talisman in terms of creativity. I think he’s probably been a bit burdened at times because he’s the one who we really rely on to create.
“We have helped him out now Firmino has come and of course we’d like him to stay.
“You want to keep your best players but modern football is such that players come and go.
“I want players to stay at Liverpool who want to stay. I want him to stay, but if he doesn’t want to stay you can’t force him because that’s modern football.
“So I would love him to stay and we have to try and keep our best players but if he decides to go, as much as it may not be his decision it may be Liverpool’s decision, we’ll have to try and replace him.
“But of course I’d love him to stay.”
Liverpool are currently chasing Champions League qualification in Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge at Anfield.
The Reds are looking to improve and break back into Europe after they ended up in eighth placed and without a trophy last term – despite reaching the Europa League and EFL Cup finals.