Barcelona to change Philippe Coutinho strategy as chief watches Liverpool’s Wembley defeat

  • Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona to change Philippe Coutinho strategy as chief watches Liverpool’s Wembley defeat

Manager Ernesto Valverde claims Barcelona want to keep their January transfer plans secret with Liverpool braced for another bid for Philippe Coutinho.

The Spanish coach refused to be drawn on the prospect of the La Liga outfit making another attempt to sign the Brazil international during the winter window after seeing three bids rejected last summer.

However, sporting director Robert Fernandez was at Wembley to watch Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday and the Anfield hierarchy don’t expect Barca’s brazen attempts to unsettle Coutinho to end any time soon.

Barca chief executive Oscar Grau declared earlier this month “we are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market”.

Asked about the prospect of buying Coutinho in January, Valverde said: “If there is interest in signing any player in January who’s not here at the moment, I wouldn’t like it to be broadcast all over the world.

“I’m more interested in (B-team players Carles) Alena, (Jose) Arnaiz and (Oriol) Busquets than other players at other teams.”

Liverpool’s position remains unchanged and they have no intention of selling Coutinho in January.

The Reds rejected a final offer of £118million in August with Jurgen Klopp declaring you couldn’t put a price on Coutinho because it was too late in the window to buy a replacement.

Keeping Coutinho beyond next summer is likely to prove much more difficult, especially if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.