Insider explains why Liverpool could keep 25-year-old despite Barcelona interest

South American football expert Tim Vickery explains why Philippe Coutinho could reject Barcelona and remain at Liverpool

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho Photo: The Sport Review

Philippe Coutinho could opt to remain with Liverpool to protect his World Cup prospects, according to Tim Vickery.

The Brazil international has emerged as a potential replacement for Neymar as the Barcelona forward closes in on a move to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record deal.

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder has established himself as Liverpool’s best player since Uruguay international Luis Suarez moved to the Catalan side in a £65m deal.

Coutinho was a key part of Liverpool’s team last term as Klopp led the Merseyside outfit back into the Champions League in his first full season at Anfield.

The former Inter Milan midfielder scored 13 times and made seven assists to secure a return to European’s top table.

South American football expert Vickery believes Coutinho will be reluctant to leave Liverpool and put his place in the Brazil team in doubt ahead of next summer’s World Cup.

“Coutinho is under contract. He is a good professional,” Vickery told Sky Sports News. “It is a World Cup year. It is important to Coutino to continue playing.”

Liverpool signed Coutinho in an £8.5m deal from Serie A giants Inter Milan in the 2013 January transfer window.

The Reds have already signed AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah, Chelsea teenager Dominic Solanke and Hull City defender Andy Robertson.

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