Jurgen Klopp has repeated his desire to keep Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool. Real Madrid and Barcelona have both been linked to Coutinho, who has been one of the star performers under Klopp this season with six goals and five assists in 14 matches.
Ahead of Coutinho’s return to the first-team fold in Liverpool’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Southampton on Wednesday, Klopp outlined his desire to have the Brazilian at his disposal for many years.
‘It would be nice if big clubs thought like this and forgot about a player completely because he’s been injured for five or six weeks. But big clubs don’t think this way unfortunately,’ Klopp said.
‘But we never had any ideas or any plans or any talks about this because he is our player and there are no other ideas. And nothing has changed.’
Coutinho has been out of action since damaging ankle ligaments on November 26 in Liverpool’s 2-0 Premier League win over Sunderland at Anfield.
He is likely to feature at St Mary’s against Southampton, but is set to be named as a substitute as Klopp keeps one eye on the clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
‘In this moment I would say it makes sense for him to be involved against Southampton, in the squad, and we will see what happens there – whether we have to use him or not or whatever,’ Klopp said.
‘If not, we have another three days to prepare him for United.’
As well as being in the EFL Cup semi-final, Liverpool are second in the Premier League, trailing leaders Chelsea by five points.