Barcelona are ramping up their interest in Philippe Coutinho – but there will be a mutiny if Liverpool sell the Brazilian.
That is the verdict of club legend Jamie Carragher.
After selling Neymar to PSG for a world record £199million, the Catalan giants have plenty of cash to spend on a replacement.
Coutinho is at the top of their wish list and Jurgen Klopp faces a battle to keep hold of his star man at Anfield.
But if Liverpool do decide to cash in, Carragher has raised concern that it would be one of the most unpopular decisions in the club’s modern history, predicting there would be a “riot”.
Here is the full story from James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo …
Jamie Carragher believes there would be “a riot” if Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group sanctioned the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona this summer.
The Catalan giants are prepared to pay in excess of £100million in a bid to prise the Brazil international away from Anfield.
But the Kop legend expects the Reds, who have always been adamant he’s not for sale at any price, to stand firm and keep hold of Coutinho for another season.
During a difficult window for Liverpool, Carragher says losing the 25-year-old would be a hammer blow to the club’s resurgence under Jurgen Klopp.
“I think he will stay. I think Liverpool will have him for 12 months,” Carragher told new Sky Sports show The Debate .
“He will want to go. Who wouldn’t want to go? It’s Barcelona. Coutinho will want to wear that shirt and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“But I don’t think there’s any way Liverpool will sell him. Not a chance of him going. I think the owners are in a position where they can’t afford to let him go.
“This window hasn’t been good for Liverpool. There would be a riot if he went – against the owners and against the club.
“It hasn’t gone how they wanted. They wanted (Virgil) van Dijk and they wanted (Naby) Keita.
“Liverpool don’t need money, they’ve got big money. Klopp hasn’t spent anything really since he came in terms of net spend. There’s a lot of money there for Liverpool to spend
“If Van Dijk becomes available then I think the owners will pay £50m or £60m for him. They would have paid £60m or £70m for Keita.
“They don’t need the money and I think they’ll get 12 more months out of Coutinho.”
Carragher insists even a fee of £100m shouldn’t be enough to break Liverpool’s resolve as they would struggle to re-invest that wisely at this stage of the year.
“If someone had said at the start of the window or six months ago, £100m or £110m for Coutinho, you’d have said ‘that’s just too much money’,” he added.
“But in the current market who could you go and buy? You’ve got full-backs costing £50m or £60m.
“What is the point of Klopp or the owners being there if you’re going to continually sell your best players? You are there to be successful, Klopp isn’t just there to be top four.”
Carragher’s former Liverpool team-mate and fellow Sky pundit Jamie Redknapp still fears that Barca will get their man over the coming weeks as they seek a high-profile replacement for Neymar.
“This is the domino effect of Neymar now. There’s more money than good players,” he said.
“Players like Coutinho are few and far between. This is a difficult one because anyone would want to play for Barcelona.
“I’d love him to stay but I’m not convinced. It all depends on what happens now with him. If he’s the kind of boy who will sit back and say ‘okay, I’ll stay’…
“Things can change quickly. All of a sudden he knows what he can get from Barcelona. There’s an opportunity there to go and play with Messi and Suarez. It’s very difficult to turn down.
“If he wants to push this through and says ‘you have to let me go’ then it becomes a difficult position for the manager and the owners.
“It strikes me that he doesn’t want to force this. He knows Liverpool have done a good job for him. At the moment it looks like it’s going to be amicable.
“This isn’t like Luis Suarez who was like ‘if you don’t sell me, I’m going to bite you’. This is completely different.”