Klopp rules out Liverpool return for Coutinho

Jurgen Klopp has downplayed any talk of a return to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho just over a year after his departure to Barcelona.

The Brazil international sealed his exit from Anfield in January 2018, after a prolonged struggle to make his way to Ernesto Valverde’s side.

However, after a promising start last season which saw him feature in a Barca side that took home the Liga crown and Copa del Rey title, Coutinho has fallen on more difficult times this campaign.

A dip in production preceded a decrease in playing time, with Coutinho’s place coming under threat from Ousmane Dembele.

While he has featured in the Champions League and Copa del Rey, Coutinho’s start against Eibar last week was his first in La Liga since December 2, prompting talk that the playmaker was unhappy with his situation.

Rumours of a move to Manchester United have popped up, as well as a potential return to Liverpool.

However, Klopp moved to rule out the latter, saying it is not a likely move for the Reds.

“That is something I don’t want to talk about,” Klopp told reporters. “I would not say it is a potential transfer or a likely one.

“Nothing to say. Whatever I say would open more stories and there is no story.

“Phil is at Barcelona and as I know he fits really well and everything is fine.”

Klopp’s own future became a question as well, with many of Liverpool’s big names committing to the club long-term.

Andy Robertson became the latest to do so after inking a five-year contract on Thursday, and the manager was asked if there might also be a new deal coming for him.

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“I would be really happy if they didn’t come now because I don’t want to think about it,” Klopp said.

“I have a long time, there will be a lot of changes before then [2022] but I don’t want to think about it at the moment. I am completely in this year and next year and then we will see.”

Klopp’s Reds host Crystal Palace on Saturday, hoping to at least maintain their four-point advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

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Coutinho return not a ‘potential transfer or a likely one’ – Klopp rules out Liverpool move for Brazilian

Jurgen Klopp has downplayed any talk of a return to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho just over a year after his departure to Barcelona.

The Brazil international sealed his exit from Anfield in January 2018, after a prolonged struggle to make his way to Ernesto Valverde’s side.

However, after a promising start last season which saw him feature in a Barca side that took home the La Liga crown and Copa del Rey title, Coutinho has fallen on more difficult times this campaign.

A dip in production preceded a decrease in playing time, with Coutinho’s place coming under threat from Ousmane Dembele.

While he has featured in the Champions League and Copa del Rey, Coutinho’s start against Eibar last week was his first in La Liga since December 2, prompting talk of unhappiness for the playmaker.

Rumours of a move to Manchester United have popped up, as well as a potential return to Liverpool.

However, Klopp moved to squash the latter, saying it is not a likely move for the Reds, and he would only fuel speculation by speaking on it.

“That is something I don’t want to talk about,” Klopp told reporters. “I would not say it is a potential transfer or a likely one.

“Nothing to say. Whatever I say would open more stories and there is no story.

“Phil is at Barcelona and as I know he fits really well and everything is fine.”

Klopp’s own future became a question as well, with many of Liverpool’s big names committing to the club long-term.

Andy Robertson became the latest to do so after inking a five-year contract on Thursday, and the manager was asked if he might also see a new deal to tie him to the Anfield outfit beyond his current on, which runs until 2022.

However, Klopp said no talks are currently happening, and it is not something he is ready to think about quite yet.

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“I would be really happy if they didn’t come now because I don’t want to think about it,” Klopp said.

“I have a long time, there will be a lot of changes before then [2022] but I don’t want to think about it at the moment. I am completely in this year and next year and then we will see.”

Klopp’s Reds host Crystal Palace on Saturday, hoping to at least maintain their four-point advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

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‘Unlucky’ Coutinho can play together with Dembele – Valverde

Philippe Coutinho has been unlucky, according to Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde, and could be in line for more playing time alongside Ousmane Dembele.

Just over a year ago, Coutinho made a much-awaited move to Camp Nou from Liverpool, coming to La Liga with a £107 million ($138m) price tag from Anfield.

Unable to feature in the Champions League, Coutinho nonetheless managed eight goals and five assists in 18 La Liga matches last season, helping the club to the title.

This season has been much more of a struggle as he’s managed five goals and four assists across all competitions and has not started a Liga match for the club since early December.

Meanwhile, Dembele, Coutinho’s primary competition for a spot in the team, has shaken off concerns over his off-the-field and training habits to stake a strong claim to a place in Valverde’s XI.

Dembele has scored nine goals and added four assists across all competitions this season, with four goals and three assists coming in his last nine games.

Both men started Barcelona’s midweek Copa del Rey match against Levante, which Barca lost with Valverde electing to rest many starters, including Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The defeat heaped more pressure on Coutinho though he scored his team’s lone goal in the 2-1 defeat, from the spot after a penalty won by Denis Suarez.

Erick Cabaco vs Philippe Coutinho

However, Valverde downplayed any issue with Coutinho, saying he is focused on his strengths and noting that the Brazil international has been unlucky.

“Over the season the games come thick and fast and in some games you aren’t so lucky,” he told reporters. “Coutinho has played some great games with us and we hope he will continue to do so.

“I look more at what he does well, the same with Dembele or Arturo Vidal. It was a tough match the other day in which we lost, sure, but has to help us take a step forward.”

Despite being in competition for a spot frequently, Valverde has featured Dembele and Coutinho together prior to the first-leg loss to Levante, using the pairing at times in the Champions League.

Though it is not something he has done frequently, it is an option that Valverde says he could turn to again.

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“He and Dembele can play together, it is a possibility,” Valverde added. “I try to play with balance. If I go through the games they played together, they did it in Milan or against PSV.”

Barcelona are next in action Sunday against Eibar, looking to maintain or extend the five point edge they held in La Liga going into the weekend.

They will then look to overturn their first-leg loss to Levante when they meet again at Camp Nou on Thursday.

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‘Great player’ Coutinho must fight to change Barca situation – Valverde

Ernesto Valverde urged Philippe Coutinho to continue fighting for his position following the playmaker’s goal-scoring return to Barcelona’s starting XI.

Coutinho started a domestic match for the first time since December 2 and converted an 85th-minute penalty as a much-changed Barca lost 2-1 at Levante in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie.

The Brazil star’s goal – his first since the 5-1 crushing of Real Madrid in October – gave the holders reason for optimism ahead of next week’s return leg, having fallen two goals behind in the opening 18 minutes at Ciutat de Valencia.

Ousmane Dembele joined Coutinho in completing a full 90 minutes and the Blaugrana boss insisted he was satisfied with both players, while encouraging them to press for continued opportunities.

“When Dembele wasn’t playing, everyone was asking me about him,” Valverde told reporters.

“Now Dembele’s playing and Coutinho isn’t and the reverse is happening. When you do not play and you are not happy, you have to fight to change the situation. Today was a match for that.

“Coutinho is a great player who has given us a lot and will give us a lot. I will say the same about Dembele. It’s a repetitive question with interchangeable names.”

Barca were without a host of regulars as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba were all afforded a break amid a busy January schedule.

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Valverde defended his team selection, insisting the injection of youngsters Juan Miranda and Chumi, along with new arrival Jeison Murillo, was a gamble worth taking.

“I picked the best team I thought we could pick,” the Spaniard said.

“It served us to evaluate players in some tough moments, like in a LaLiga game. I know it’s a risk, but you have to take risks a lot of the time.”

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Barcelona benchwarmer Coutinho struggling to justify €160m transfer fee

The €160 million signing of Philippe Coutinho was supposed to be the final piece in the Barcelona jigsaw puzzle. The Brazilian was drafted in to Camp Nou from Liverpool with the toughest of challenges on his hands.

With Andres Iniesta set to leave the club, Coutinho represented exactly the kind of high-profile signing who would lead Ernesto Valverde’s men through that shock and into the future. But so far, aside from a few glimpses of his obvious natural talent, he has failed to click in a team where he has looked all too dispensable so far.

Such is the playmaker’s predicament that now, just 12 months down the line from that blockbuster transfer, a fresh move is already being mooted.

Newly rejuvenated Manchester United have been linked with a January transfer, a prospect that a few short weeks ago would have appeared laughable with the Red Devils submerged in crisis. But Coutinho is facing up to an uncomfortable reality: Perhaps at Barcelona he has become surplus to requirements.

To date the player has managed just nine starts in La Liga, a tally that even allowing for Valverde’s rotation policy – he has started all of Barca’s Champions League fixtures to date, for example – is a disappointing return. Worse, he has failed to sustain a decent start to the season, with his last goal in any competition coming in October when he opened the scoring in the Catalans’ 5-1 destruction of Real Madrid.

Coutinho has been consigned to the bench for his team’s last four run-outs in the league, a decision that has barely seemed to affect Barca on the pitch as they ran out victors on all four occasions to break free at the summit. So why has the former Liverpool man failed to follow through on his promise and become the new Iniesta everyone at Camp Nou hoped for?

It is not all the player’s fault, of course. Coutinho has been hurt more than anyone by the resurgence seen from Ousmane Dembele, who just over a month ago appeared on the verge of his own exit as Barca tired of his disciplinary issues.

The France winger has contributed three goals and two assists in his last six games, pushing himself into permanent contention for a first-team spot. That brilliant form has necessitated a change in tactics at the club.

From the beginning Valverde has favoured a 4-4-2 set-up with Barca, using first Iniesta and later Coutinho as a roving midfielder behind the undisputed pairing of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the final third. But with Dembele back in the fray the coach has switched to something approaching the ‘classic’ Blaugrana 4-3-3, with the Frenchman taking Neymar’s place on the left of the trident.

The solid bank of three industrious, uncompromising ball-winners and distributors remains, leaving Coutinho in a sort of tactical no-man’s land as a more delicate creator. He now enters matches in the very final minutes, usually in Dembele’s place, in order to keep hold of possession and take the sting out of matches with Barca in the ascendancy.

Coutinho PS

Within the club, however, those in charge will not countenance cutting their losses in the face of United interest. “Coutinho’s a player with a lot of experience, one of the best players in Europe and he is ready to play [for] five minutes or 90 minutes,” director Guillermo Amor explained to Movistar .

“He’s always played well for Barca, he could play [every game] from the off. Barca signed him because he’s one of the best in the world and he’s going to give us a lot.

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“He’s got many years left on his contract and a lot to give to Barcelona.”

There is no doubt that at his best, and in the right team, Coutinho can offer a great deal. He showed as much in his first six months at Barca, when all the concerns about losing Iniesta suddenly seemed less severe thanks to his brilliant introduction to life in La Liga.

The current season, though, has thrown up the most serious challenge in Coutinho’s career since he struggled to make his mark as a youngster at Inter. It is up to him to adapt to Valverde’s tactical alterations and prove he can make an impact, and not go down as an expensive failure at Camp Nou.

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Coutinho told he has Barcelona future despite regular bench duty

Philippe Coutinho has been assured that he has a long-term future at Barcelona despite finding himself stuck on the bench of late.

The Brazil international is just a year into his career at Camp Nou.

A €160 million (£144m/$183m) transfer during the 2018 January window took him to Catalunya from Liverpool amid much excitement.

The 26-year-old has struggled to justify that hefty price tag and started to slip down the pecking order under Ernesto Valverde as a result.

He has not started a game since December 2 and saw just seven minutes of action during a 2-1 victory over Getafe on Sunday .

Coutinho is, however, tied to a lengthy contract and is being backed to come good, with Barca director Guillermo Amor telling Movistar : “Coutinho’s a player with a lot of experience, one of the best players in Europe and he is ready to play [for] five minutes or 90 minutes.

“He’s a player that thinks more about the team than himself and there are no doubts about him being one of the best players in the world. He’s always played well for Barca, he could play [every game] from the off.

“Barca signed him because he’s one of the best in the world and he’s going to give us a lot. He’s got many years left on his contract and a lot to give to Barcelona.”

Of Coutinho’s 22 appearances this season, 15 have come from the start.

He has contributed five goals and four assists across La Liga and the Champions League, but more is expected of him.

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Ousmane Dembele has filled a role on the left of Barca’s attacking unit as Valverde explores other options, while Arturo Vidal and Arthur are being preferred in more central midfield berths.

There is still time for Coutinho to make his mark this season, as the games come and thick and fast after the winter break.

Barca are seeking to successfully defend their Liga title this term, while they also have Copa del Rey and Champions League last 16 outings approaching in the coming weeks.

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WATCH: From Coutinho to Neymar, relive all Brazil’s goals in 2018

As the Selecao turn their attentions to Copa America 2019, we take a look back at the 10 consecutive victories secured by Tite and his side on BGT2018


GOAL


2018 may not have brought the sixth world title Brazil so desperately desired, but it was another productive year under coach Tite, who this year will lead the Selecao into Copa America 2019.

Brasil Global Tour LIVE – Episode Zero

Neymar, Coutinho, Tim Vickery and GOALS, GOALS, GOALS! Welcome to Brasil Global Tour LIVE!

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

And the Brasil Global Tour proved a particularly productive hunting ground for Tite and his charges, who raced to ten consecutive victories either side of the World Cup in Russia.

Relive all the action by watching all ten videos below and remember the Brasil Global Tour 2018.


RUSSIA 0-3 BRAZIL (23/03/18 – MOSCOW)




GERMANY 0-1 BRASIL (27/03/18 – BERLIN)



TBT Germany 0-1 Brazil (March 2018)

#when Jesus rose again  0-1 

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Thursday, July 26, 2018


BRAZIL 2-0 CROATIA (03/10/18 – LIVERPOOL, UK)



Neymar’s outrageous goal vs Croatia

Neymar, though! Outrageous

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Sunday, June 3, 2018


AUSTRIA 0-3 BRAZIL (10/06/18 – VIENNA)


2018 Highlights: Austria 0-3 Brazil

@Neymar Jr., though

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, January 2, 2019


USA 0-2 BRAZIL (08/08/18 – NEW JERSEY)



BRAZIL 5-0 EL SALVADOR (12/09/18 – MARYLAND, USA)


Highlights: Brazil 1-0 Uruguay

Brazil 5-0 El Salvador

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, September 12, 2018


SAUDI ARABIA 0-2 BRAZIL (12/10/18 – RIYADH)



BRAZIL 1-0 ARGENTINA (16/10/18 – JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA)


Neymar refused to lose Miranda takes the Superclasico

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, October 17, 2018


BRAZIL 1-0 URUGUAY (16/11/18 – LONDON, UK)


Highlights: Brazil 1-0 Uruguay

Neymar Highlights: Brazil 1-0 Uruguay 

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Sunday, November 18, 2018


BRAZIL 1-0 CAMEROON (20/11/18 – MILTON KEYNES, UK)


Highlights: Brazil 1-0 Cameroon

Richarlison! When Brazil went to Milton Keyens Brazil 1-0 Cameroon, November 2018

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, January 2, 2019




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Barcelona can get the best out of Coutinho & Dembele, claims Valverde

Barcelona do not have to choose between Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, according to Ernesto Valverde.

With Brazil youngster Arthur having established himself in midfield, Coutinho and Dembele have been left vying for a place in the XI in recent weeks.

The 21-year-old France international Dembele started the campaign with some difficulty, and has found himself under criticism for showing up late for training.

But there can be no questioning his on the field performance as of late, as Dembele has either scored a goal or delivered an assist in each of his last five appearances for the club.

Dembele has been rewarded with starts in Barcelona’s last two La Liga fixtures and scored Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Espanyol, then added the side’s lone goal in a Champions League draw with Tottenham midweek. 

Meanwhile Coutinho was relegated to the bench in the derby win, but did start alongside Dembele in both the victory over Villarreal and the draw against Tottenham.

But Valverde has insisted that both players – who he believes are among the most dangerous in world football – fit into his plans, and can be played together more often if needed.

“They can play together as they have already done this season,” Valverde told a news conference ahead of Barca’s meeting with Levante on Sunday.

“I know these are inevitable questions but we know that we have the chance to use both.

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“I’ve always considered [Dembele as one of the most dangerous], but we also have Coutinho and a few more.

“We want the best from them.”

Atletico Madrid’s 3-2 victory over Rayo Valladolid brings their capital club level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table, but the reigning champions can go back clear in La Liga with a result against Levante. 

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‘It happened to me!’ – Valverde laughs off Dembele timekeeping

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has defended Ousmane Dembele after the France forward reportedly turned up late for training again.

Dembele helped Barcelona to a 4-0 derby defeat of Espanyol on Saturday but following that crushing La Liga victory made headlines again for another disciplinary issue.

The France forward’s timekeeping has been a concern throughout his career, with the 21-year-old reportedly arriving two hours late for Monday’s session.

Valverde was repeatedly asked about Dembele’s discipline during a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game at home to Tottenham.

But the coach was unwilling to publicly criticise the youngster and even made light of the matter.

Asked if he could remember such lateness in a player, Valverde joked: “It happened to me!

“I knew you were going to ask about Dembele. It’s true that some things have happened, we will try to solve things internally, and there’s not much more to say about this.

“It is a new situation, and we want to help this player, because he has great talent, and we want to help him make the most of it.

“These are questions about an internal matter, he’s a player who gives us a lot of things in the field, but in the same way that others contribute a lot on the pitch. We all have to follow some guidelines here.

“You win the derby 4-0 and everyone says it’ll be relaxing, it’s sunny outside and you hope nothing crazy happens. This is an internal issue, we will resolve it internally, and I’ve said that four times.”

Philippe Coutinho’s recent performances have also been questioned but Valverde said he is happy with the Brazil international’s contribution.

“The players’ form goes up and down all season. When Luis Suarez wasn’t scoring the questions were about him non-stop,” Valverde added.

“Philippe is very important for us. He played in the second half the other night [against Espanyol] and is another option for us. We want to support him to give us the best he can, as he is a decisive player.”

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No guarantee Coutinho will be picked ahead of Dembele – Valverde

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says Philippe Coutinho cannot count on being picked ahead of Ousmane Dembele for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with PSV.

Victory in Eindhoven would see Barca finish top of Group B and earn a last-16 tie with a runner-up from one of the other groups.

Dembele came off the bench to score the equaliser for the Catalans in a 1-1 La Liga draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

With Coutinho again available after missing the Atletico game and a shock defeat to Real Betis two weeks earlier, it was put to Valverde at a news conference on Tuesday that Dembele – who Goal reported has requested a transfer in January  – may be forced back down the pecking order.

“We’ll see about that,” responded Valverde. “Ousmane has been playing regularly, so there’s no reason why that definitely will be the case.

“We hope that the goal against Atletico helped Dembele. A goal gives confidence to any player and I have the feeling Dembele will always try to do his best when he comes out.

“Dembele is a player who has been playing regularly, from the bench or the start, and he has quality.

“When he comes off the bench he can change a game and that’s a quality that is undervalued in football. Not everybody has that quality.”

Barcelona have had to cope with a lengthy list of injuries this season, with Luis Suarez (knee), Rafinha (knee) and Sergi Roberto (hamstring) the latest to head to the treatment room.

And Valverde placed some of the blame on having so many players called away on international duty in the early part of the campaign.

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“It’s not that we don’t want the players to go away with the national team, but it is something that we have to pay a price for and, in this case, several players’ injuries have coincided at the same time,” he added.

“Throughout the season there are casualties of all kinds, as we have played the last two games of the Champions League without Lionel Messi.

“In the previous match were cautious with Coutinho, but we think that he can play this time. We will see how Ivan [Rakitic] trains, but we are optimistic.”

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