Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard believes wantaway midfielder Philippe Coutinho owes the club “another year,” just like Luis Suarez did in 2013.
Gerrard was instrumental in persuading Suarez not to push for a move to Arsenal ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, insisting the Uruguayan was destined for better.
Suarez went on to produce a phenomenal run of form, scoring 31 goals in 33 games as the Reds went closer than ever to sealing the Premier League title, before joining Barcelona in 2014.
With the Spanish side now making advances for Liverpool’s No. 10, the Brazilian handed in a transfer request on Friday afternoon.
“The problem here are Barcelona, because they will be saying to Coutinho’s representatives: ‘It’s now or never. If he doesn’t come now, we’re never coming back for him ever again’,” he said.
“So they’re piling the pressure on and that’s why Philippe’s reacted.
“This kid who’s come from South America has always had a dream of playing for Barcelona, and he’s panicking thinking that if he doesn’t do it now it’ll never happen again.
“I know the kid, I know he’s not a bad person, I know he doesn’t want to cause a war to come out.
“But at the end of the day he’s just signed a five-year deal, the club have been superb to him and made him the player he is.
“You remember he was struggling at Inter Milan. We gave him the chance, we built this player up. The least he can do is give the club another year.”
Speaking at his post-match press conference following Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Watford on Sunday, Klopp revealed that Coutinho’s future was in the hands of Fenway Sports Group.
The club’s owners held firm when Suarez was pushing for the exit in 2013, and the hope is they take the same approach this summer.
And Gerrard believes is a “huge test for the club” as they look to establish themselves among Europe’s elite once again.
“I think the difference here is Coutinho in January has just signed a five-year deal, become the highest-paid player at the club,” he continued.
“He comes out and says he’s really, really happy and then the first time Barcelona come he puts in a transfer request.
“I think the fans are frustrated and you can understand it.
“I think FSG have got it under control, and they’re the key. There’s been times in the past where players have been unsettled and they’ve gone in and said ‘I’m desperate to go’ and it’s ended up happening.
“This is a huge test for the club from top to bottom to try and be as strong as they can to the end and don’t give in.”