Philippe Coutinho tells Barcelona to sign Liverpool frontman Roberto Firmino as Luis Suarez replacement

Barca bosses believe the Brazilian can take their attack to a new level (Picture: Getty)Barcelona are actively looking to sign a replacement for Luis Suarez and have identified Liverpool frontman Roberto Firmino as the perfect fit, according to reports in Spain.

The Uruguayan’s goal tally has fallen in each of the last two seasons, while he only has three goals in 11 appearances in all competitions this campaign.

Suarez will turn 32 in January and El Chiringuito de Jugones report that Barca have made finding an heir their top priority, with Firmino number one on their list.

Barca fear Suarez is on a downward curve and want to replace him (Picture: Getty)There are concerns over Suarez’s physical ability as he enters the twilight of his career, but Firmino’s aggressive pressing and work rate is seen as a big step up.

The Brazilian would be an ideal foil for Lionel Messi, while he has already been given a glowing recommendation from former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

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Barca’s hierarchy intend to use the same approach that convinced Coutinho to leave Anfield on Firmino and have already begun putting steps in place to sign him.

However, unlike the Coutinho deal, Barca do not believe they are in  a position to sign Firmino in January and will instead wait until next summer to mount their pursuit.

Coutinho has been key to Barca’s interest, recommending Firmino to the club (Picture: Getty)Firmino enjoyed the most prolific season of his career to date last year, scoring 27 times in all competitions – though that is actually less than what Suarez scored.

But Barca are attracted more to his ‘fighting’ qualities than his goalscoring record, and believe his style of play – more like a false nine – would take the side’s attacking play to a new level.

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Alisson reveals what Philippe Coutinho told him before Liverpool transfer

The keeper spoke to his countryman before signing (Picture: Getty)Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has revealed that he spoke with compatriot and former Reds playmaker Philippe Coutinho about the club before deciding to join over the summer.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has already recorded four clean sheets in the Premier League since leaving Serie A side Roma, with Liverpool sitting top of the table with six straight wins – and they’ve only conceded a league-low two goals.

Although Liverpool moved for Alisson after the World Cup, he had already spoken to Coutinho before the tournament about life on Merseyside.

Coutinho spent five years at Liverpool before leaving for Barca (Picture: Getty)‘He spoke highly of Jurgen [Klopp] and about the players,’ said Alisson of Coutinho, who swapped Anfield for Barcelona in January.

‘He said there is no vanity in the squad but it’s a very ambitious squad with a strong desire to win.

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‘Coutinho also said he was very happy here with his family, which is really important.

‘Our wives spoke to each other too and they said they had a great time living here, and we are very happy.’

Alisson and Coutinho played together at Under-17 level for Brazil (Picture: Getty)Alisson also revealed that the atmosphere he experienced at Anfield while playing for Roma in the Champions League left a lasting impression.

‘The atmosphere I experienced here contributed to my decision to sign,’ he continued. ‘There was also the way the Liverpool team played. It’s not dependent upon one player, it’s a real group effort. It’s a team that plays with love and passion.’

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Jurgen Klopp reveals plan to replace Philippe Coutinho

Jurgen Klopp has been active in the transfer market this summer (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp insists he will not delve into the transfer market in a bid to replace Philippe Coutinho.

The Liverpool manager has spent heavily this summer, making Allison the most expensive goalkeeper in history as well as bolstering his midfield with the additions of Naby Keita and Fabinho, while boosting his attacking options with a £13million deal for Xherdan Shaqiri.

Klopp appeared to be on the verge of signing Lyon’s creative forward Nabil Fekir earlier this summer but the transfer collapsed prior to the World Cup.

The France international seemed destined to fill the void left by Coutinho’s departure in January but Klopp now admits he will not be seeking a like-for-like replacement.

He said: ‘You cannot replace Phil Coutinho with exactly the same kind of player,” Klopp said.

‘He’s Phil Coutinho. He has a specific style of play, tactically an outstanding player, can play as the winger, the ’10’, the ‘8’ – really great.

‘I don’t want to put one of my players in the position where people will now say constantly ‘he’s the Phil replacement’.

Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January (Picture: Getty)More: Liverpool FC

‘I think the biggest thing we did in the second half of last season was that we didn’t need to speak too much about Phil. That wasn’t clear in January. How could we have known that?

‘If we had still had Phil then we could have played with Phil in the final. Mo (Salah) goes out [injured], but Phil still there. Phil on the left wing, bring Sadio (Mane) to the other side, bring midfielder on – it’s a different story. It would have been nice but he wasn’t here any more. We wish him well.

‘We don’t need to replace Phil. We need to make a squad for the next year. Out there on the market, there isn’t a Phil Coutinho light. It’s not there. But there are a lot of good players and we have brought a few of them in.’

Four players Liverpool could sign instead of Nabil Fekir after transfer collapse

The Reds need to find a new attacking midfielder this summer (Picture: Getty, Friday night, Liverpool appeared to be on the verge of raiding Ligue 1 for a second time in a matter of days by completing a £52million deal for Lyon skipper Nabil Fekir. But, just a few hours later – amid reports of a complication in his medical and some last-minute brinkmanship and renegotiations – the deal collapsed.

Lyon’s notoriously difficult president Jean Michel Aulas appears unwilling to reopen talks, at least not until the World Cup is over, but Liverpool’s need to sign a belated Philippe Coutinho replacement may not wait that long. Fekir had the perfect toolset to play either in attack or a slightly deeper midfield role, and players of that ilk are few and far between. But there are still several notable options Liverpool could consider…


Havertz is one of the most impressive products of Leverkusen’s academy (Picture: Getty)Were Germany not so blessed with attacking midfielders, Kai Havertz might have had a shot at making Die Mannschaft’s squad for the World Cup. The 18-year-old had a breakthrough season at Bayer Leverkusen, scoring three times and, more impressively, laying on eight assists – the joint-most of any teenager in Europe’s top five leagues alongside a certain Kylian Mbappe.

Havertz is a tall, rangy and athletic player with good control and an eye for a pass – the old cliché of having good feet for a big man rings true. He has been likened to compatriot Mesut Ozil, and Jurgen Klopp knows all about the youngster. In fact, it was reported last year that he had been invited to Melwood for a tour of the training ground. Havertz would be much more of a project signing than Fekir, but his potential is enormous.


Zyech was Ajax – and the Erdevisie’s – stand-out player last season (Picture: Getty)Eredivisie players often come with a warning – for every Luis Suarez there is an Afonso Alves – but Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech has arguably been the best player in the division for the past two years and is overdue a shot at proving himself in a bigger, more competitive league. Since moving to Amsterdam in 2016, the Moroccan has been directly involved in 42 goals in 62 league outings.

Like Fekir, he straddles the line between being a No.8 and a No.10, both supporting the attack and pulling strings in midfield, while his sweet left foot provides the long-range explosiveness that Liverpool have lacked since Coutinho left. Plenty of clubs are already interested though, including Roma, and a good World Cup – he is Morocco’s talisman and best player – could increase his price tag.


Fernandes is competing for a starting spot in Russia after scoring against Algeria (Picture: Getty)Were Liverpool to sign Bruno Fernandes, the Reds would become the sixth team of the 23-year-old’s already journeyman-like career. After leaving Boavista for Italy and Udinese as a teenager, he returned to his homeland last summer an infinitely more polished and confident player, scoring 11 times and laying on eight assists for Sporting as they finished third in Liga NOS – earning a World Cup place in the process.

Fernandes feels like an excellent fit for one of the two advanced central midfield roles that Klopp has used to such success, able to both create and break up play. The player himself likens his style to Rui Costa, while his old Boavista coach, Martelinho, describes him as an aggressive box-to-box midfielder. Like Coutinho, he can both create for others and score himself, routinely firing into the top corner from impossibly far out.


Lemar has previously attracted transfer interest from Liverpool and Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Monaco winger Thomas Lemar may stray slightly from the mould of attacking midfielder Liverpool have been looking at, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Frenchman – who laid on eight assists last season and scored twice – would provide excellent cover and competition in the wide forward positions, while Leonardo Jardim has been increasingly willing to use him in the hole too.

Lemar has terrifying pace and wicked end product, while his central forays have shown an ability to beat his man – and the press – and set-up speedy counter attacks. That feels like a perfect fit for the speedy transitions Klopp coaches, especially with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely sidelined until the end of the year. Liverpool have been interested before, and tried to sign him last summer, and he would mesh with the intensity, speed and efficiency of the Merseysiders. But perhaps they need something different this time?

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Philippe Coutinho predicts ‘amazing’ Mohamed Salah will shine at the World Cup

Philippe Coutinho backs Mohamed Salah to star at the World Cup. (AFP/Getty Images)Philippe Coutinho believes Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will become one of the star players at the World Cup this summer.

Salah suffered a shoulder injury in Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month and is in a race to be fit for the start of Egypt’s World Cup campaign.

Coutinho, meanwhile, is set to play an integral role in Brazil’s tournament following a season in which he sealed his move from Liverpool to Barcelona.

Coutinho played alongside Salah at Liverpool before his departure and the Brazil midfielder believes his former Anfield teammate has what it takes to outshine Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

‘It feels like the right moment for ­someone to take their chance at this World Cup,’ said Coutinho.

Salah is recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final. (AFP/Getty Images)More: Football

‘Messi and Ronaldo have been up there on their own for so many years. I think it may be time for other players to aspire to be the best in the world – and the best at this World Cup, too.

‘For me, Salah and Neymar have serious chances to do that.

‘It depends on how the tournament goes, of course, but they have the talent to do it. Those are the players I would pick out.

Coutinho says Neymar can also outshine Messi and Ronaldo at the World Cup. (EPA)‘Watching Mo Salah since then has been amazing.

‘He is going to be a player who will be a big hero at Liverpool for a long time, I am totally convinced of that.

‘He can do well in the World Cup, too – it all depends on how far his team can go. But we also know what Neymar can bring. He is a special player.’

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Liverpool owner John Henry takes swipe at Philippe Coutinho ahead of Champions League final

Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January (Picture: Getty)Liverpool owner John Henry has taken a swipe at Philippe Coutinho ahead of the club’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The Reds will attempt to win a sixth European Cup on Saturday evening when they face Spanish giants Real in Kiev.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have enjoyed a stunning run in Europe this season, beating Porto, Manchester City and Roma in the knockout stages to reach the final.

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Liverpool have twice been forced to sell their star players to Barcelona in the last four years, with Coutinho joining Luis Suarez at the Nou Camp in January.

Asked about the duo ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, Liverpool owner and American businessman Henry told AP: ‘They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing.

‘But (part owner) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.’

Liverpool owner John Henry with manager Jurgen Klopp (Picture: Getty)He added: ‘You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona.

‘It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches.’

Suarez scored a staggering 82 goals in 133 games for Liverpool before joining Barcelona in 2014 for around £65million. He has since won three La Liga titles and the Champions League.

Coutinho will hope that kind of success awaits him at Barca – his January move cost over £140m and he scored 10 goals in 22 appearances as Barcelona won La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Coutinho joined Luis Suarez at Barcelona (Picture: EFE)More: Football

Henry, who has been in charge of Liverpool for eight years, said: ‘Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool.

‘The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world.’

MORE: Simon Mignolet ‘not thinking’ of Liverpool future beyond Champions League final

Jurgen Klopp revealed his Champions League prediction to Philippe Coutinho in private meeting at Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp told Philippe Coutinho that Liverpool would emerge as Champions League contenders. (Reuters)Jurgen Klopp told Philippe Coutinho in a private meeting that Liverpool would turn into one of the Champions League’s heavyweights, according to reports.

Liverpool are on the brink of reaching next month’s Champions League final after beating Roma 5-2 in the first leg of their semi-final at Anfield on Tuesday evening.

But according to, Klopp predicted Liverpool’s rise in Europe in a meeting with Coutinho at the club’s training ground in December 2016.

The report claims that the Liverpool manager told the Brazilian that he felt the three Champions League frontrunners – Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona – were not going to be as formidable as once were and would not be viewed as unbeatable sides in the upcoming seasons.

Klopp then told Coutinho that Liverpool could become a force in Europe once again, and said that the midfielder would be at the centre of the club’s revival.

Klopp said that Coutinho would be at the heart of Liverpool’s revival in Europe. (Reuters)More: Football

But Klopp’s vision was not enough for Coutinho, who demanded to leave Liverpool for Barcelona a year later.

Coutinho was cup-tied for this year’s Champions League after he joined Barcelona from Liverpool, but his new club were surprisingly knocked out by Roma in the quarter-finals.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have a new talisman as Mohamed Salah has established himself as the focal point in Klopp’s attack.

Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s new talisman. (AP)After beating Roma at Anfield, Klopp insisted that the two late goals his side conceded did not make a difference to their approach to the second leg next week.

‘It should not sound like a warning or whatever but we are not Barcelona,’ said Klopp.

‘Barcelona is one of the two or three best teams in the world and they won so many things in the last few years and we didn’t.

‘We will fight with all we have for that result again. It is so much better than I could have expected before the game but now in the moment I feel the two goals we conceded.

‘We have to work again in Rome – that is no problem. There would have been work for us to do if we had won 5-0 because Roma would have tried everything to strike back anyway so that is not a big difference.’

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Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez combine in Copa del Rey win over Sevilla

Barcelona celebrate on their way to victory (Getty)Barcelona thrashed Sevilla 5-0 to win the Copa del Rey on Saturday night.

The Catalan side put in a sensational performance at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium to win the trophy for a 30th time.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring from close range in the 14th minute after Philippe Coutinho teed him up.

It was the third time the January signing had provided an assist for Suarez, already more than they managed during their combined time together at Liverpool.

3 – Philippe Coutinho ya ha dado más asistencias a Luis Suárez con la camiseta del Barça (tres) que con el Liverpool (dos) en todas las competiciones. Complicidad.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 21, 2018

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Lionel Messi doubled the lead in the 31st minute by slamming home a Jordi Alba backheel.

5 – Lionel Messi se convierte en el segundo jugador en marcar en cinco finales de Copa del Rey (seis goles), el primero desde Telmo Zarra entre 1942 y 1950 (ocho goles). Emperador.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 21, 2018

The Argentinean then turned provider, setting up Suarez to score before half-time.

The rout continued in the second half with Andres Iniesta scoring early on before Coutinho made it 5-0 from the penalty spot.

Barcelona’s record signing was given penalty duties after he found the back of the net, only to find the whistle-happy referee had given a spot-kick for a handball in the box. He made no mistake however, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Suarez opens the scoring (Reuters)

The former Liverpool players celebrate together (Getty)

Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi celebrate (Getty)

Suarez scored twice on the night (Getty)Iniesta, who will leave Barcelona for China at the end of the season, collected the trophy.

MORE: Jose Mourinho reveals Ed Woodward predicted Manchester United’s win against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-finals

Phil Thompson tells Philippe Coutinho what to do if he gets a Champions League winners’ medal

Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool through to the knock-out phase of the Champions League (Getty)Philippe Coutinho must reject the offer of a Champions League winners’ medal if Liverpool go all the way, Phil Thompson has said.

The Brazilian forward left Anfield for Barcelona during the January transfer window, however he would be eligible to receive a medal – a prospect all the more possible after Liverpool overcame Manchester City in the quarter-finals.

Uefa hand 40 gold medals to the winners of the tournament which the club can distribute as they see fit.

Uefa rule on medals

‘The winning team is presented with forty gold medals and the runner-up with forty silver medals. Additional medals may not be produced.’

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Coutinho joined Barcelona for £142million (Getty)They may deem Coutinho worthy, with the 25-year-old scoring five goals and providing two assists during the group stage to help the Reds progress to the knock-out phase.

But according to Thompson, a former Liverpool player, coach and European Cup winner, Coutinho doesn’t deserve the medal and should turn it down.

‘He left Liverpool to go to Barcelona knowing he wasn’t going to play Champions League football.

‘I got a medal in 1977 for Liverpool because I played up until the semi-finals.

‘I don’t count that as a winners’ medal. I have that in my house in a cabinet but I say wherever I go I’ve only two European Cup winners’ medals.

Liverpool celebrate their 5-1 aggregate win over Manchester City that’s put them into the semi-finals (Getty)‘I’d like to think if there’s anything about Coutinho, if they do go on to win it, he says “no, I don’t deserve that”.

‘And he wouldn’t be. I don’t care, it’s wrong.’

More reaction to Liverpool’s win over Man City…

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Thompson showed his love of Liverpool last night with his wild celebration on Sky Sports as Mohamed Salah equalised against Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will find out on Friday who they will face in the semi-finals. Roma are through with Real Madrid taking on Juventus and Bayerrn Munich playing Sevilla tonight.

MORE: Rio Ferdinand praises Jurgen Klopp for improving four Liverpool players after Manchester City victory

Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala as Philippe Coutinho successor

After holding off in January, Klopp will move for an heir to the Brazilian this summer (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are considering a summer move for Juventus star Paulo Dybala after Jurgen Klopp finally settled on a successor to Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

The Merseysiders reinvested some of the £146million they received for the Brazilian from Barcelona in January on world’s most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk, who cost £75m.

However, Liverpool chose not sign a direct replacement for Coutinho at the time, though Italian outlet Mediaset Sport now claim that Klopp has requested the club try to sign Dybala.

Dybala scored a hat-trick on Saturday, though his form has suffered through injuries in 2018 (Getty)The Reds have a ferocious frontline but possess little depth beyond their front three, and Klopp has asked Liverpool’s transfer bosses to look into a summer move for Dybala.

Despite Dybala’s excellent form for Juventus since he left Palermo, there is a growing sense in Turin that they would accept an offer if they received in excess of £110m.

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Juve had few qualms about selling Paul Pogba for a world-record fee two years ago, while Dybala’s red card in the Champions League against Real Madrid has lost him quite a few fans.

The Old Lady have already began investigating a potential replacement for Dybala in the form Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, though would need to sell before they could by.

Dybala’s performance against Spurs didn’t just excite Klopp, but Pochettino too (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are not the only Premier League side showing interest in Dybala, with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino a huge admirer of his compatriot too.

That was enhanced further when Dybala took on Spurs in the Champions League last 16 and scored the decisive goal at Wembley that knocked them out, with Pochettino said to be ‘bewitched’ by his display in London.

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