Dejan Lovren believes the value of Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho can only be determined when compared to Neymar’s record-breaking transfer fee.
The Reds continue to fend off interest in their Brazilian forward, with Barcelona having seen two bids knocked back – the second totalling £90 million.
Firmino enhanced to 7/1 to score v Hoffenheim
Liverpool are understandably reluctant to sell and will not be pressured into a deal despite the furore surrounding Coutinho’s future or his tabling of a transfer request.
It remains to be seen what the next move will be by both sides, but Lovren feels any asking price has been driven up following Paris Saint-Germain’s €222m acquisition of Neymar.
He told Sportske Novosti, using the inflated market for defenders this summer as another example – with Manchester City having spent £50m on Kyle Walker: “When I came to Liverpool, in a 20 million Euro transfer, I was expensive. And now defenders cost 40, 50, 60 million.
Firmino: Coutinho exit would be awful
“Times change and if Neymar costs more than 200 million, you will not sell Coutinho for 50, that is how the market works.”
While fully aware of the speculation following Coutinho around at present, Lovren insists the subject of his future has not been discussed at length by those alongside him in Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
The Croatia international added ahead of a Champions League play-off clash with Hoffenheim on Tuesday: “I can’t say much about Coutinho as us players don’t discuss that among each other.
Klopp has no say in Coutinho saga
“The club will decide but of course we would miss him because he is great player, hard to replace.
“He and [Adam] Lallana will be hugely missed in the Hoffenheim game.”
Coutinho has not been included in Liverpool’s squad for their first European outing of the season, while Lallana is nursing a thigh injury which is set to keep him sidelined for the next couple of months.