Barcelona reiterate €200m demand for Coutinho while ruling out January arrivals

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu maintains that Liverpool demanded €200 million for Philippe Coutinho over the summer, pricing them out of the market.

The La Liga giants spent much of the transfer window pursuing the Brazilian forward, with the departure of Neymar in a record-breaking €222m deal leading them to seek out reinforcements.

Barca 10/1 to beat Eibar 5-0

They were able to land Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for €105m, but are now counting the cost of failing to secure other targets after seeing the France international ruled out for four months with a hamstring injury.

Bartomeu has reiterated that they walked away from Coutinho as they could not justify the price tag put to them, with the club eager to try and find greater value in-house once more as they seek to reap the rewards of their famed La Masia academy system.

He told TV3: “I will not say how much we offered, but [Liverpool] asked for €200m.

“We weren’t going to give €200m or €150m – we decided to step away from such an expensive market, our offer was less than €100m, with add-ons it could have reached €120m.

“Money has come into football from outside the game and made [the transfer market] more expensive, which explains what happened with Coutinho.

“We have to make these investments in La Masia and the club’s academy, we must respect the rules.

“This is why I am happy with the investigation into PSG, which is a request made by European clubs.”

Lionel Messi Andres Iniesta Barcelona

Despite missing out on Coutinho and seeing Dembele pick up an untimely knock, Bartomeu has moved to rule out further incomings at Camp Nou during the January window.

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He added: “There is nothing planned for the winter market.”

For now, Barca are focusing their efforts on getting new deals for Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta over the line, with Bartomeu confirming once again that two club icons are close to putting pen to paper.

He said Iniesta can continue for “as long as he wants to”, having previously revealed that Messi is already working under fresh terms after agreeing to extend his stay in Catalonia through to 2021. 

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09 2017

Coutinho opens up on failed Barcelona move but insists his focus is firmly on Liverpool

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho has revealed the details behind his collapsed transfer to Barcelona, admitting he and his family were excited about the move to Camp Nou. 

The Brazil international was marked by the Catalan club as a replacement for Neymar following his countryman’s record-breaking €222 million switch to Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Liverpool 7/1 to beat Leicester 1-0

Despite Coutinho telling Liverpool he wanted to go ahead and leave for La Liga, before handing in an official transfer request in view of forcing a move through, the Reds refused to sell.

Now, having made his Premier League return to Jurgen Klopp’s side in the club’s 1-1 draw at home to Burnley on Saturday, Coutinho insists he is solely focused on giving his best to the Merseyside club.

Coutinho told ESPN Brasil: “What happened was a job offer and, in life, sometimes you get interested, sometimes you don’t, and in my case, as everybody knows, I got interested, my family too.

Coutinho

“But as I’ve always said, it’s a great honour to receive an offer from such a great club like that, but it’s also a great honour being here – Liverpool is great club worldwide. 

“Now I’m here and I’ll give my best, as always.

“I’ve never had any problems with anyone here. I’ve always respected the support very much of the groups. The players, the directors, the technical staff. And that hasn’t changed at all. Like I said, whatever job offers you get, some interest you and others don’t.”

Asked if he was still feeling a sense of disappointment, he replied: “No. It’s all done now. I have to work. I’m focused on working hard and to have a good year if possible. In the end, I have to help my team.”

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Klopp named Coutinho in the Reds’ first team for the first time this season at the weekend, with Sadio Mane serving the first of his three-match ban for his sending off against Manchester City. 

He was eventually replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Klopp citing cramp as the reason behind the swap.

The draw leaves Liverpool in eighth position after five league games.

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09 2017

Enough Barcelona talk! It’s time for Coutinho to lift Liverpool

Philippe Coutinho, wrapped in apprehension, would have run through the differing scenarios in his head as soon as he swallowed the reality that a move to Barcelona would not materialise this summer.

Having handed in an unsuccessful transfer request to facilitate the swapping of Anfield for Camp Nou, while not featuring for the Merseysiders during that period due to a back injury that then dissipated on Brazil duty, how would he be received at a home game?

Would the crowd vocalise their disappointment in the 25-year-old’s actions through piercing jeers? Would they be ambivalent? Or would they be happy to have him representing the club again?

Coutinho will have imagined all three eventualities – and often too – ahead of the question finally being answered on Wednesday night in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Sevilla.

On 76 minutes, as Emre Can left the pitch, the German midfielder was naturally clapped off. But as the substitution announcement continued over the tannoy with “to be replaced by No. 10, Philippe Coutinho,” the applause amplified and was accompanied by a thunderous cheer that filled the ground.

GFX Klopp Coutinho

There are matches to be won and ambitions to be met with the Brazilian still central to both of those aims, so the Liverpool fans in attendance smartly chose to support rather than chastise him.

“It was really nice how the crowd welcomed him,” Jurgen Klopp said ahead of Saturday’s hosting of Burnley. “I think nobody was 100 per cent sure about this [reaction], but I’m really happy that we, as the Liverpool family, were sensitive enough to do it exactly like this.

“I think it was good for him. He has trained outstandingly in the few sessions we’ve had so far together since he’s back.”

Coutinho v Sevilla

Quite noticeably undercooked during the cameo – given his only competitive football came in a combined 46 minutes against Ecuador and Colombia with his country already qualified for the World Cup – Coutinho wasn’t aided by the fact the closing minutes against Sevilla disintegrated into desperation as Liverpool sought a winner in a match they should’ve long killed off.

“In the game he was not perfect, of course, but that’s how it is after a long break,” Klopp admitted. “But it helped him and it helped us so for sure we are ready to think about him as a starter.”

Against Burnley, who will constrict the space and prioritise frustrating Liverpool, Coutinho should line up from the off in the centre of the park.

Coutinho 5/1 to score 2+

GFX Sadio Mane on Coutinho

Inventiveness and cerebral play will be fundamental to the Reds disrupting Sean Dyche’s obstructive gameplan and there is no option at Klopp’s disposal superior to the Rio-born virtuoso in both of those virtues.

With the dynamic, effective Sadio Mane unavailable as he serves the first of a three-match suspension, Liverpool are already short of a game-changer on Saturday and their two-time Player of the Year is the ideal candidate to step back in and spark their expansive blueprint.

Coutinho has already displayed a telepathic understanding with Salah during pre-season. Against Leicester in the Premier League Asia Trophy, the futsal-schooled star was positioned deep and switched play with a dissecting delivery to the Egyptian on the right flank.

Coutinho advanced as Salah enjoyed a one-two with Trent Alexander-Arnold and freed himself to receive the ball. He anticipated the winger’s dart between Danny Drinkwater and Harry Maguire, lofting a pass into that very space. Salah, having kept Christian Fuchs in his shadow, headed in to equalise after Islam Slimani’s opener.

HD Phil Coutinho Mohamed Salah

Then, in the 3-0 victory over Hertha Berlin, Coutinho received possession and casually turned Vladimir Darida before transforming five markers into bystanders. He spotted the speedster ready to exploit the space between Karim Rekik and Lustenberger, packaged a phenomenal pass into his path, which Salah dinked over Rune Jarstein.

There is, of course, no shortage of evidence to how much Coutinho is suited to functioning in tandem with Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge.

Encouragingly, there have been samples of stellar chemistry between the Brazil international and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in sessions at Melwood too, and having got those minutes during midweek, it’s time for The Magician to conjure his defence-splitting craft again from the start.

HD Phil Coutinho

“They have a clear plan, and you can see it and see it and see it in each game,” Klopp said of Burnley. “They stick to it and it’s so difficult to play against it because their players show big desire to defend all the situations.

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“That’s something I have to consider when I do the line-up – we need freshness in mind and in legs for this game. There will be really small spaces, there won’t be a lot of easy situations where you can outplay them or whatever.

“It will need real, proper work – shooting in the right moments, passing in the right moments and crossing in the right spaces.”

It will need Coutinho orchestrating matters from midfield.

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09 2017

Klopp set to unleash Coutinho against Burnley after positive fan reaction

Jurgen Klopp praised the Anfield crowd for the way they reacted to Philippe Coutinho’s return – and hinted the Brazilian could start against Burnley on Saturday.

Coutinho 4/1 to score first

After failing to force a move to Barcelona, Coutinho made his first club appearance of the season as a second-half substitute in Tuesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Sevilla.

The home fans greeted the sight of the 25-year-old on the touchline with applause, although the replacement was unable to mark his comeback by helping Liverpool grab a late winner in their Group E opener.

With Sadio Mane unavailable for the weekend, Coutinho is ready to replace his suspended team-mate for the clash with Sean Dyche’s side on Saturday, according to his manager.

“You can get minutes when you start. He should be ready,” Klopp told a media conference.

“It was really nice how the crowd welcomed him. Nobody was 100 per cent sure about this – I think for him it was good. He was outstanding in training in the few sessions we’ve had so far.

“The game was not perfect, but that’s how it is after the long break. However, it helped him and it helped us.”

Mane will sit out Liverpool’s next three domestic fixtures after his red card in the 5-0 away defeat to Manchester City.

However, Klopp is confident the squad can cope in the absence of the Senegal international, just as they did at the end of last season when he was sidelined for the run-in due to a serious knee injury.

“It was clear before the season that there would be moments when he cannot – or should not – play,” the German said of Mane.

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“That’s how we reacted when building the squad. We have options – enough options.

“Roberto [Firmino] already played left and Phil can play there. Alex [Oxlade-Chamberlain] can play there too. We can change the system as well, so we can do a lot of things.”

Adam Lallana won’t feature against Burnley, however, with Klopp revealing the England international will start running again “this week, or the beginning of next week” as he steps up his recovery from a thigh injury.

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09 2017

‘Liverpool should sell Coutinho for £130m and buy a new defence’ – Saunders offers transfer advice

Liverpool should sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £130 million next summer and reinvest the funds on a new defence, says Dean Saunders.

The Reds spent much of the most recent transfer window fending off advances from Camp Nou as their Brazilian playmaker became a top target for the Liga giants.

Reds beat Burnley, Firmino FGS – 9/2

Several offers were knocked back, with Liverpool making it clear that they would not be sanctioning a sale in 2017.

They have already shown that they can cope without Coutinho at the start of the current campaign, but their defensive frailties remain and Saunders believes a big-money departure could actually help the club in the long run – with as many as five fresh faces required at Anfield.

The ex-Reds striker told talkSPORT: “If Liverpool want to win trophies, if they want to get to that next level, they need to improve their defence.

“One way around that would be to sell Coutinho next summer for £130 million and buy three new defenders and a defensive midfield player…and maybe a goalkeeper as well.

“Liverpool’s front three are already brilliant, so I’d take the money for Coutinho and that’s one way you can get the back-four better.

“I wonder if the manager is sitting there this morning thinking, ‘is my back-four good enough to go where I want to go with this team?’

“Would Loris Karius get in Manchester United’s team? Would Joe Gomez? Would Alberto Moreno? Would Joel Matip or Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klaven?

“Go through the seven best teams in Europe, none of those players are getting in those teams, so as a manager you sit there and think, ‘are they good enough, and if not what can I do about it?’ He could change the way they play to protect them a little bit more, or change the personnel.

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“They are not far away, Liverpool. But again, great teams can win games 1-0, and at the moment Liverpool can’t do that against the top teams.”

Liverpool’s latest struggles at the back saw them held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sevilla in the Champions League, with a number of former players having been quick to question Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Dietmar Hamman has suggested that the Reds are “top heavy” and “unbalanced”, while Manchester United legend Roy Keane says the European elite will be “laughing at Liverpool” if they make the latter stages of continental competition.

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09 2017

Sevilla boss Berizzo’s bizarre reasoning behind his dismissal

Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo explained the intriguing logic behind the actions that led to his dismissal in Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Liverpool.

Berizzo had already been warned by referee Danny Makkelie for throwing the ball away in the first half when he did the same again after the break, meaning he was sent to the stands.

But he had his reasons for repeating his actions and he thinks the whole thing can be put down to a misunderstanding.

“It was two different actions,” he said. “In the first half when we were winning, Liverpool were on the counter-attack and I did something that wasn’t right, I threw the ball away. I was trying to waste time, to stop Liverpool.

“I realise that was a mistake. However, in the second half a similar thing happened when we were losing and I still decided to throw the ball away to try to make up for what I did in the first half.

“I was doing the sportsmanlike thing – it was the same action, different context. You could construe both as unsportsmanlike, but I was trying to make up for it.

“I explained that to my counterpart [Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp] and he understood, but the only one who didn’t was the referee.”

Berizzo’s side secured a point at Anfield after Joaquin Correa added to Wissam Ben Yedder’s early opener, which had been eclipsed by goals from Roberto Firmino – who also missed a penalty – and Mohamed Salah.

The 47-year-old was satisfied to secure a share of the spoils against what he considers to be dangerous opponents.

“It’s a good way to start the group stages,” said Berizzo. “We found it tough in the first half. We went ahead, but when we went behind we found it tough. They were very positive, very quick.

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“We were struggling either side of our defence to control the speed of their attacks.

“Second half we managed to stop their progress down each side and we were very solid.

“I think the result stands us in good stead for the group stage.”

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09 2017

Liverpool 2 Sevilla 2: Correa snatches point as Coutinho makes Reds return

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored but Joaquin Correa snatched an equaliser as Sevilla held Liverpool to a draw.

Liverpool’s Champions League group-stage campaign got off to a frustrating start as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Sevilla at Anfield, finishing the match with 10 men.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored the goals for the home side after Wissam Ben Yedder had given the visitors a surprise early lead, but Joaquin Correa ensured the LaLiga side left with a point.

Philippe Coutinho, heavily linked with a move to Barcelona during the transfer window, made his first appearance of the season at club level as a late substitute but it was not enough to inspire one last turnaround as Joe Gomez was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Correa in second-half stoppage time.

The match was a repeat of the Europa League final of 2016, in which Sevilla came from a goal down to win 3-1, but manager Jurgen Klopp insisted this week Liverpool had grown since that defeat in Basle.

The Reds were certainly the stronger of the teams for the majority and were deservedly heading for three points after Firmino and a fortuitous Salah strike had overturned Ben Yedder’s fifth-minute opener.

Firmino missed a penalty at the end of the first half but Liverpool continued to look the better of the sides, producing a vastly improved performance from the 5-0 Premier League hammering by Manchester City last Saturday.

However, Correa made the most of some slack defending to rescue a share of the spoils for Eduardo Berizzo’s side, who remain unbeaten in 2017-18.

Liverpool fans would have anticipated a typically fast start but it was Sevilla who opened the scoring with only five minutes played.

Some neat interplay between Correa and Sergio Escudero allowed the full-back to find space to the left of the area, and when Dejan Lovren completely missed his attempted clearance, Ben Yedder had a tap-in from less than six yards out.

The Reds came close to a prompt equaliser through Sadio Mane, whose low strike from the edge of the area was well saved by Sergio Rico, before Firmino headed Jordan Henderson’s cross narrowly over.

But Firmino made no mistake in the 21st minute, the Brazilian converting from six yards after former Sevilla man Alberto Moreno’s low cross eluded the defence and Rico at the near post.

The frantic early pace began to drop as each side looked to gain a greater control in possession but, eight minutes before half-time, Liverpool struck again.

Salah, having been fortunate to escape conceding a free-kick for tripping Steven N’Zonzi outside the Sevilla box, saw his low strike take a huge deflection off Simon Kjaer and nestle into the net beyond the helpless Rico.

Firmino had a golden chance to make it 3-1 before the break after Nico Pareja wrestled Mane to ground in the area, but his nonchalant penalty struck the outside of the right-hand post.

Liverpool continued to look the more likely to find the fourth and Sevilla’s task became more difficult when Berizzo was sent to the stands for preventing Gomez from taking a quick throw-in.

However, with 18 minutes to play, Sevilla snatched an equaliser with their first shot of the second half. Substitute Luis Muriel fed Correa, who was granted a free path through the Liverpool defence to curl a good finish past Loris Karius from just inside the area.

Klopp immediately introduced Coutinho from the bench to a largely warm reception from the home fans, but the Brazilian could not conjure any late magic to give Liverpool a win.

Indeed, the match finished in tough circumstances for the hosts, who had Gomez sent off for a second yellow card just moments after Muriel missed a great chance to steal all three points.

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09 2017

Coutinho questions remain as Klopp turns to Karius for Liverpool v Sevilla

Jurgen Klopp kept fans guessing over Philippe Coutinho’s prospects of Champions League involvement for Liverpool against Sevilla, but confirmed Loris Karius will get the nod in goal.

Coutinho was left out of Liverpool’s squad for Saturday’s 5-0 Premier League thrashing at Manchester City, agreeing with manager Klopp that he needed to do work to build his fitness after his absence over the opening weeks of the season.

Back injuries and illness were cited as the reasons for the Brazil international’s absence against the backdrop of a transfer request and a succession of bids from Barcelona that Liverpool rebuffed.

Klopp told a pre-match news conference the playmaker is fit to feature at Anfield on Wednesday but refused to venture any further.

“I could give you an idea at this stage,” he said. “But I’m sure Liverpool supporters around the world are ready to wait another 24 hours.

“He is fit, he is healthy. All the information about the line-up you will have to wait until tomorrow. But he is here.”

Klopp was more willing to discuss the goalkeeping position, where Karius will step in for regular first-choice keeper Simon Mignolet.

“What I can say is, if nothing happens overnight, Loris Karius will play – that’s true,” he said, before adding Mohamed Salah will be assessed after being excused from training on Tuesday due to illness.

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“He was in and the doctor told me Mo Salah can train, but what would be best for him is if he doesn’t have to,” he explained.

“He has a little bit of a sore throat. It shouldn’t be that serious [but] he can’t spread the virus if there is one.

“At this moment we expect him back in the morning for normal training.”

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09 2017

FIFA 18 player ratings: Alexis & Coutinho amongst top 30 Premier League players

EA Sports have revealed the top-ranking 30 Premier League players in Fifa 18, with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho unsurprisingly making the cut.


30. BERNARDO SILVA | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Having capped off a superb campaign with Monaco by joining Manchester City, Bernardo Silva sees his overall rating increase from 83 to 84.


29. DELE ALLI | Tottenham


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Tottenham wonderkid Dele Alli is up two points from 82 to 84. He was rated at 80 when FIFA 17 was released and will likely continue to rise.


28. JUAN MATA | Manchester United


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

The Spanish maestro continues to be a valuable squad member at Old Trafford, despite a number of new signings over the past couple of seasons. 


27. CESAR AZPILICUETA | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Cesar Azpilicueta gets an increase of one overall point on last year, but most notable is his position change from left-back to centre-back following his Premier League title win in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system.


26. ILKAY GUNDOGAN | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Ilkay Gundogan keeps his 85 overall rating for FIFA 18. Stay fit, and he could be a candidate for an increase.


25. VINCENT KOMPANY | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany comes down from 86 overall to 85. He’ll need to stay fit to boost his rating back up.


24. ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE | Arsenal


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Arsenal’s new striker had all the attributes that made Arsene Wenger splash out over £46m to sign him from Lyon, and his excellent pace, shooting and dribbling stats are sure to make FIFA 18 managers want him too!


23. JAN VERTONGHEN | Tottenham


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

After helping Tottenham finish second in the Premier League, Jan Vertonghen has gotten a bump in his rating, moving up two points overall to 85 in FIFA 18.


22. HENRIKH MKHITARYAN | Manchester United


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s rating remains steady at 85 overall. He was available as an in-form card on a number of occasions last season and if he keeps it up, a permanent rise could follow.


21. TOBY ALDERWEIRELD | Tottenham


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Alderweireld has established himself as one of the top defenders in the Premier League and receives a boost from 85 overall to 86.


20. PETR CECH | Arsenal


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech receives an 86 rating this season, having kept 12 clean sheets in the 2016-17 Premier League season. Only four goalkeepers had more during the campaign.


19. DIEGO COSTA | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Diego Costa may not be getting gametime at Chelsea, but his 86 overall rating in FIFA 18 as well as a high physical rating of 88 will surely see him included in many Premier League and hybrid squads.


18. PHILIPPE COUTINHO | Liverpool


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Barca were willing to pay huge money for Coutinho but that has not persuaded EA to push his FIFA 17 rating of 86 overall up any further.


17. DAVID LUIZ | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

On the back of a superb title-winning season with Chelsea, David Luiz sees his overall rating boosted two points from 84 to 86.


16. CESC FABREGAS | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

He may not always be a starter, but Fabregas played an important role in Chelsea’s title triumph and his 86 rating is unchanged.


15. HARRY KANE | TOTTENHAM


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Kane enjoyed a one-point boost in the FIFA 17 ratings refresh and gets another for FIFA 18 to take him up to 86 overall.


14. ROMELU LUKAKU | Manchester United


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

New Manchester United striker Lukaku is up two points from 84 to 86 overall after a fine final season for Everton before his big-money transfer.


13. DAVID SILVA | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Manchester City talisman Silva is unchanged at 87 overall and gets increases in his defending and physical ratings having adapted well to a central-midfield role.


12. CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN | Tottenham


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Eriksen has established himself as one of the top playmakers in the Premier League and risen from an 84 rating on FIFA 17 release day to 87 overall as a result.


11. N’GOLO KANTE | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Kante is one of the biggest risers in this year’s ratings. He started FIFA 17 at 81 overall before being pushed to 83, and has now rocketed up to 87 as the reigning Premier League Player of the Year.


10. PAUL POGBA | Manchester United


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Pogba seems to be settling into life back at Manchester United now but actually takes a one-point hit compared to his FIFA 17 rating. He still has five-star skill moves, however.


9. ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC | Manchester United


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Ibrahimovic may have taken a two-point hit on his 90 overall rating on FIFA 17, but he remains one of the top strikers in the game.


8. HUGO LLORIS | Tottenham


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Lloris gets the job done in goal year in, year out for Tottenham and France and retains the 88 overall rating he sported in FIFA 17.


7. MESUT OZIL | Arsenal


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Germany international Ozil is down one point from 89 to 88 overall on the back of another disappointing season for Arsenal.


6. ALEXIS SANCHEZ | Arsenal


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Alexis might not be the happiest man at Arsenal right now, but at least he has a one-point boost on his FIFA score to celebrate this week.


5. SERGIO AGUERO | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Another man who retains the overall rating he sported in FIFA 17 as Kun stays on 89.


4. THIBAUT COURTOIS | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Courtois is in the Premier League’s top two keepers as the Chelsea man continues to enhance his reputation.


3. KEVIN DE BRUYNE | Manchester City


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

De Bruyne is another upward mover, improving on the 88 score given to him last time round.


2. DAVID DE GEA


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

De Gea was outstanding for United last season, and deservedly holds on to his 90 rating to cement his position as one of the world’s – and FIFA’s – elite keepers.

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1. EDEN HAZARD | Chelsea


FIFA 18 Premier League Top 30

Hazard’s one-point upgrade to 90 overall and entry into the top 10 sees him take the title of best player in the Premier League from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

EA SPORTS is revealing all players’ ratings ahead of the release of FIFA 18 on the 29th September. To pre-order your copy, head to: https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/buy/united-kingdom

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09 2017

Want-away Liverpool star Coutinho urged by Ince to be more Suarez than Alexis

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho needs to follow the lead of Luis Suarez, rather than Alexis Sanchez, after missing out on a move, says Paul Ince.

The Brazil international spent much of the summer being linked with a big-money transfer to Barcelona, with the La Liga giants making several bids which took them over €100 million.

No deal was done, though, with Barca director Albert Soler later claiming that Liverpool were demanding €200m for the playmaker.

Having been forced to stay put, Coutinho now faces the prospect of remaining at Anfield until at least January.

Coutinho 7/1 first goalscorer v Sevilla

Jurgen Klopp is confident the 25-year-old will not down tools and former Reds star Ince is looking for him to take inspiration from Suarez — who eventually secured a move to Barcelona in 2014 — and avoid the negative body language of another want-away star in the form of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

“Philippe has to try to copy Luis the season after he was told he could not leave,” Ince told the Mail on Sunday

“One thing about Liverpool fans, as long as Coutinho does things the right way, the fans will still love him.

“They will understand the lure of Barcelona and will not hold it against him, just as long as he does not spend his time moping or show the kind of body language Arsenal fans have occasionally seen from Alexis Sanchez.

“Coutinho does not strike me as that type of player.

“There were a few eyebrows raised at Barca’s £120m valuation and he will have to shine in the Champions League to show he is truly worth that kind of money.”

HD Luis Suarez Liverpool

Suarez had wanted out of Anfield in the summer of 2013, citing excessive media attention following a ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, but Liverpool blocked his path.

The Uruguayan responded by leading a Premier League title challenge which saw him named PFA Player of the Year.

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He then got his move after the 2014 World Cup and has gone on to enhance his reputation at Camp Nou.

Arsenal forward Sanchez has already graced that particular stage, but is actively looking for another to impress on in the near future.

His contract at Emirates Stadium is running down, but the Gunners repelled interest from Manchester City during the recent window and then named the Chilean on the bench for their return to Premier League action against Bournemouth on Saturday — with certain sections of the club’s support booing him when he entered the fray.

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09 2017