Jurgen Klopp has taken a surprising stance over Barcelona’s widely reported interest in signing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
Despite signing a new five-year contract with the club in January, speculation has not subsided over a possible move to the Nou Camp for the Reds’ No. 10.
With his Brazilian compatriot Neymar Jr putting on the charm offensive, there is cause to believe that Coutinho could make his way to La Liga at some stage in the future.
But for now, Liverpool will be confident of keeping the forward, with Klopp claiming he is “not concerned” about a potential departure for one of his most influential players.
“Actually, I think it’s positive when there is interest,” he explained.
“I am not concerned because I think Phil fits really well and comfortably here.
“We give the boys enough perspective that they really want to be part of this for the next few years.
“Phil had a difficult time with injury, coming back fighting for shape, I would say. That’s normal.
“In the last three games, you can see immediately, when he is in a little bit of shape, how big the difference is he can have in a game. That’s wonderful for us.”
Coutinho has certainly edged closer to top form in recent weeks, with the 24-year-old scoring three and assisting one in four games so far in April.
His combination play with Roberto Firmino has been particularly vital, and the Brazil internationals underlined this with a game-changing 45 minutes coming off the bench away to Stoke City.
With just five games left to play before the end of the season, Coutinho’s improvement is perfectly timed, as the Reds look to finish in the Premier League‘s top four.
Securing Champions League football is certainly a crucial step to ensuring Coutinho remains content on Merseyside, as he is a talent worthy of performing at the top level.
Speaking earlier this month, Coutinho gave no indication that he would be looking to leave the club any time soon.
Just as his relationship with Neymar would likely be central to any move to Barcelona, his understanding with Firmino and Lucas Leiva has helped him adjust at Anfield.
And as Klopp attests, interest from Europe’s top clubs can be seen as a positive, with Coutinho clearly of the standard required for Liverpool to progress.