Liverpool will struggle to keep Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho, claims Danny Mills
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 08/08/17 11:24am
Liverpool will struggle to keep Philippe Coutinho if Barcelona make a second approach, according to former England defender Danny Mills.
Liverpool rejected a £72m bid from Barcelona earlier this summer, but Sky Sports understands Coutinho would like to move to the Nou Camp if a deal can be done amicably with Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp has consistently stated that Coutinho is not for sale but Mills believes Liverpool could be forced into selling their most valuable player before the end of the summer window.
"They are a big club [but] they're not quite as big as Barcelona," said Mills. "Of course, there is the Spanish and Brazilian connections he has there. Players that he already knows.
"Ultimately, Barcelona is one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Liverpool haven't won the Premier League for many, many years.
"Barcelona are still at the top of the tree. If they come in for you… clearly he wants to go."
Liverpool have signed just three new players this summer - Dominic Solanke, Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson - and Klopp can ill-afford to lose Coutinho as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging in all competitions.
"How he's been very clever, is the fact his comments about wanting to leave Liverpool is completely different to the Virgil van Dijk scenario," Mills said.
"He's trying to play the long game here. Clearly Barcelona are interested and he would love to go there but it's not cut and dry.
"He doesn't want to force himself out of the football club and he realises he might have to stay at Liverpool. If he does, he might not be too happy, but if he does - ultimately, he wants to keep the fans on his side.
"He has still got to live in Liverpool and he still wants to be a Liverpool legend if he can't be a Barcelona legend."