Klopp hails Coutinho's decision to snub Barcelona for new Liverpool deal

The Brazil international has shown that he believes in the Reds’ project by inking fresh terms at Anfield, the delighted German said

Jurgen Klopp has hailed Philippe Coutinho’s decision to shun interest from Barcelona by signing a new contract at Liverpool.

OFFICIAL: Coutinho signs new deal

The club announced on Wednesday that the 24-year-old has committed to fresh terms that will come into effect in July and will see him become their highest earner on £150,000 a week.

Coutinho has been heavily linked with Barcelona in recent months as a result of his exceptional form in his four years at Anfield, with former Brazil international Rivaldo tipping him as a shrewd signing to link up with compatriot and close friend Neymar.

But manager Klopp believes Coutinho has demonstrated his commitment to Liverpool’s project by pledging his future to the club.

“This is wonderful news and I know everyone associated with LFC will be delighted when hearing this,” he told the club’s official website.

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“I think everyone knows what a great footballer Phil is, that is not in question – but not everyone sees what an incredibly positive character he is and what a big influence he is on the dressing room.

“I knew of Phil before I came to Liverpool and I was well aware of what a talent he was, but since arriving here I have not only witnessed his ability up close, but also his ever-continuing development. He is truly world-class – in that very top bracket.

 It’s the news you’ve been waiting for…

  @Phil_Coutinho has signed a new deal with the club!

 Read more: https://t.co/SC3OdLiGre pic.twitter.com/QjxLG3zj03

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 25, 2017

“The fact he wants to stay here and be part of what we are looking to build and develop shows his personal commitment is to make himself better and be an integral part of something that is very special.

“We have total belief in our project, but when a player of Phil’s calibre and status commits for this length of time it shows that our faith is shared throughout the game. He knows he can fulfil his dreams and ambitions here at Liverpool. This is a big statement.

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“I look forward to seeing Phil create many more great memories and moments for this club.”

Coutinho himself suggested that the opportunity to continue working with Klopp was a major factor behind his decision to sign a new deal.

“Jurgen is a great manager,” said the former Inter playmaker. “We all can see how much he has changed here since he arrived – and how much he will change in future. He is a winner.

“It’s not only me, but every other player feels honoured to play at this great club for this great manager. This feeling has a very positive influence on us as players.”

CONFIRMED: Coutinho pens new Liverpool contract

The Brazil international, believing his ambitions can be met at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp’s charge, has no escape stipulations in his extension

Philippe Coutinho has signed a new Liverpool contract without a release clause, which runs until 2022 and certifies him as the club’s highest-paid player. 

The 24-year-old’s decision to commit his long-term future to the Reds was confirmed on Wednesday morning amid interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

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The Brazil international, believing his ambitions can be met at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp’s charge, eschewed escape stipulations as part of his extension.

HD Jurgen Klopp Phil Coutinho

With his young family settled on Merseyside, his contribution warmly saluted on the terraces, and the belief that Liverpool are on an upward trajectory, Coutinho was happy to show his gratitude to the club by staying put.

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He told their official website: “I am very happy to sign a new contract for this club. It is a club that I am very grateful to and this shows my happiness here. 

“I will work much harder to repay the belief shown in me.

“This is a fantastic club, one of the biggest clubs in the world – and we should be there amongst the other big clubs. This is a football club with great players and great technical staff. It has everything to achieve great things in future.

“Since we [his family] arrived here we were welcomed with open arms by everyone. 

HD Phil Coutinho

“We feel at home in this city, we feel a part of this city. It is a very important day for me, my wife and my daughter. I am happy – and everyone is happy at home!”

The announcement will lift Liverpool, who have been determined to stop the talent drain of seasons past as they build a culture of excellence and achievement.

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It will also elevate Coutinho to the uppermost salary bracket at the club, where he’ll now be above Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge with a package understood to be around £150,000 a week.

And his ambition now is to help fire the Reds to silverware. “Titles, I think that is very important,” he said when asked about his targets over the course of his new deal.

“When I say titles, I mean leagues – and this is one of the best leagues in the world – but also the Champions League and fighting with the best teams in Europe. 

“That is my aim – it is the aim of everyone at this football club to be up there. Every player, every staff member at this club. This is what we are searching for.”

More money, no buyout problems: Coutinho to bank top salary at Liverpool with new deal

An announcement on the 24-year-old’s decision to commit to the Anfield side is expected imminently as he gets lifted to their uppermost salary bracket

Philippe Coutinho is on the brink of becoming Liverpool’s highest earner with a new contract expected to run until 2022 that does not contain a release clause.

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Talks with the Brazil international over fresh terms have been positive, with the player happy to commit his future to the Reds without escape stipulations attached as an endorsement of Jurgen Klopp’s vision for the club. 

HD Jurgen Klopp Phil Coutinho

The announcement of the 24-year-old’s decision to progress with the deal, expected imminently, will lift Liverpool, who have been determined to stop the talent drain of seasons past as they build a culture of excellence and achievement. 

It will also elevate Coutinho to the uppermost salary bracket at Anfield, where he’ll now be above Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge with a package understood to be around £150,000 a week.

The new proposal rightly reflects the attacker’s status at the club, where he has been named Player of the Season two years running, while warding off interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. 

HD Phil Coutinho

Coutinho’s continued advancement – he was the among the Premier League’s standout performers before ankle ligament damage suffered in November kept him sidelined for 46 days – was always going to lead to interest from Europe’s elite.

But the creative conjurer from Rio, who has already contributed to 13 goals in this campaign, regards Anfield as the best place for his talents with his young family settled on Merseyside, his contribution warmly saluted on the terraces, and the belief that Liverpool are on an upward trajectory under Klopp.

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Coutinho feels his ambitions can be realised with the Reds, which is exactly the sentiment the German has referenced solidifying in the past.

“It is creating the perspective that no-one wants to leave. That is all it is about,” the manager said.

“The players like to be here and it is our job to make sure it stays like this.”

Neymar fails to convince Coutinho to join Barcelona

The Brazil forward tried to talk his compatriot into a move to Camp Nou, but those hopes have ended as the attacker is set for a new Liverpool deal


EXCLUSIVE


Barcelona’s hopes of signing Philippe Coutinho this summer have been dashed. The Brazilian midfielder is close to agreeing a new contract to remain at Liverpool, despite the attempts of Neymar to persuade his international team-mate to join the Catalan club.

Barca’s Brazilian forward has spent months trying to convince Coutinho to link up with him at Camp Nou, where he would be able to play on one of football’s biggest stages alongside not only his close friend Neymar, but also another international team-mate in Rafinha and former Liverpool colleague Luis Suarez.

However, the 24-year-old is well aware of the difficulty of breaking into a side featuring Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar in attack, while he is also indebted to Liverpool for making him the player he is today.

Coutinho has often spoken of his happiness at Anfield and has been full of praise for manager Jurgen Klopp, under whom he has played his finest football since moving from Inter in 2013.

C outinho to get new Liverpool deal

Neymar Coutinho Brazil 20062015

That tandem is now set to continue together as Coutinho prepares to sign a new contract with wages that will make him Liverpool’s highest-paid player as Neymar’s pleas fall on deaf ears – at least for the foreseeable future.

Barca will now need to look at alternatives for the summer window, having watched the Brazilian for many months and even sending sporting director Robert Fernandez to see the Brazilian play live against Villarreal in the Europa League last April.

Asked about the possibility of signing the Brazilian, Robert has always said: “Coutinho is a great player, but we already have a lot of midfielders.”

Barca are well stocked in the middle of the park following the arrivals of Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez last summer and with Sergo Roberto set to return to his natural position from right-back at some stage.

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HD Phil Coutinho

HD Jurgen Klopp Philippe Coutinho

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But Gomes has not completely convinced and Andres Iniesta is approaching the twilight of a glittering playing career and will be 33 in May, so Barca know they need to earmark a successor to the Spain star sooner or later.

Although Barca were interested in Coutinho all along, the Catalan club never had complete conviction that they could convince the 24-year-old to leave Liverpool at this point of his career – especially given the financial cost of the operation and the priority in renewing Messi’s contract.

Not even Neymar’s attempts at persuading Phil to join him at Camp Nou have succeeded and as Coutinho prepares to put pen to paper on a new long-term deal at Anfield, Barca will have to look elsewhere .

Coutinho set to become top earner at Liverpool with new deal

The Brazilian is set to ink fresh terms, which won’t include a release clause, as he ignores interest from Barcelona and PSG to remain with the Reds

Liverpool are confident Philippe Coutinho will commit his long-term future to the club as he is close to agreeing a new deal that will put him in the top bracket of earners at Anfield.

Discussions over fresh terms, which will not include a release clause, have begun as the Reds look to tie down their standout star amid interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. 

HD Phil Coutinho

The 24-year-old, who has been named Liverpool’s Player of the Season two years running, will have his importance to their ambitions reflected in the proposal. 

Coutinho has elevated his game further under Jurgen Klopp and prior to picking up ankle ligament damage in November that kept him out of action for 46 days, was lighting up the Premier League.

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He has contributed to 13 goals already in the campaign and will be crucial as the club look to combat a tough start to the year.

The Brazil international has often referenced his happiness on Merseyside as well as his belief in the direction the Reds are taking under the German. 

HD Jurgen Klopp Phil Coutinho

And Klopp stated in November that he expects Coutinho, who was last rewarded with a new deal in February 2015, to continue being an influential figure for the side.

“My opinion is that he feels really well here,” the manager said. 

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“We all hope and think that his future is here at Liverpool. 

“It is creating the perspective that no-one wants to leave. That is all it is about.

“The players like to be here and it is our job to make sure it stays like this.”

Pique addresses his Barcelona future and Coutinho links

The Spain international insists he has no intention of moving and says ‘great players’ are always welcome amid talk of interest in Liverpool’s forward

Gerard Pique insists he has never considered leaving Barcelona and intends to see out the remainder of his playing days at Camp Nou.

The World Cup-winning defender is a product of Barca’s famed La Masia academy system, but left his homeland for Manchester United in 2004.

He was brought back to Catalonia after four years in England and has gone on to become one of the finest centre-halves in world football.

RUMOURS: Pique could leave Barcelona

Pique has won just about every major honour with club and country, while taking his tally of club appearances to over 420.

He has, however, seen his future at Barcelona called into question of late, with speculation suggesting the 29-year-old’s pop star wife, Shakira, is eager to make a fresh start somewhere else.

HD Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

Pique, though, has sought to quash the rumours before they escalate, with there no desire on his part to leave Barca until the time comes to hang up his boots.

Asked during a Facebook Q&A session whether he has given any thought to a move, he said: “To be honest, no I haven’t. I’m happy here, this is my lifelong club and I hope to end my playing career here”.

While Pique has ruled out an imminent exit, he has also been pressed on possible arrivals at Barca.

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Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho has been heavily linked with a move to the La Liga champions, with the Brazil international considered to be a “great player”.

Pique said: “It’s [Technical Secretary] Robert’s [Fernandez] job to handle those kinds of things but great players are always received here with arms wide open.”

Lionel Messi Barcelona 14012017

A stalwart of Barcelona’s recent successes also faced inevitable questioning on iconic team-mate Lionel Messi.

He said: “Playing with Leo is amazing. And obviously, playing with the rest of my team mates is as well.”

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And regarding the debate as to who is best – Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo – Pique reiterated that his allegiance lies close to home.

“The question I always get asked – you already know the answer,” he added.

Messi and Barcelona are next in action on Sunday, when they head to Eibar looking to keep pace with the title-chasing frontrunners in the Spanish top-flight.

Klopp: I could kick Mane in the… lower back

The winger bagged a second of the tournament to keep his national side in the AFCON mix, but his Anfield boss isn’t sure how to feel

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he has mixed emotions after watching Sadio Mane fire Senegal into the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations.

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The 24-year-old scored his second goal of the tournament in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Zimbabwe to secure Senegal’s second win in a row and a place in the second round.

Klopp is thrilled to see the pacy forward continue his excellent form for this season but could not hide his frustration that he will remain unavailable for Liverpool for at least a little longer.

“I wrote to him and said ‘I’m happy for you, but on the other hand, I could really kick your… lower back,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday.

“Of course, they’re through, it’s good, he scored again and played good again. Mixed emotions would be the best description. As long as he’s fit, we’ll take it like it is and support Senegal.”

Joel Matip also remains unavailable for selection as FIFA has yet to decide on whether the defender should be allowed to play for his club while the finals in Gabon are ongoing, after having rejected a call-up from Cameroon.

“No, I don’t have an update. FIFA mentioned it would be a kind of D-Day. But nothing yet,” Klopp said.

“We knew about the Africa Cup of Nations before. All teams knew about it. The Matip case is special for us and of course we don’t think it’s fair. It’s another experience, actually, which we don’t need. But you have to learn from it.

“I have respect for all they’re doing there under most difficult circumstances. It’s a great tournament. In the middle of our season makes it not too cool but I don’t think too much about it.”

Liverpool take on Swansea City at Anfield on Saturday looking to halt a run of two straight draws in the Premier League and Klopp admits that media scrutiny on every match is beginning to increase the pressure on all teams.

“The interesting thing about the Premier League – and I don’t know when it started – is that there are only finals,” he said. “Swansea are already playing to stay in the league. We play for whatever.

“But each game, especially in your opinion, decides the whole season. That’s really intense. But we’re really looking forward to this opportunity. We’re still in the race and that’s really good.”

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Philippe Coutinho made his first start since injuring his ankle in November in the 1-0 FA Cup replay win over Plymouth Argyle on Wednesday and Klopp believes he is regaining some of his sharpness.

“You saw it already, in the few minutes he had in the last games,” he said. “We were happy to have the opportunity at Plymouth to give him 60 minutes because even Coutinho can’t come back on the pitch at immediately 100 per cent.

“It helps the whole team when Phil is in, everybody can benefit from Phil’s skills.”

VIDEO: Coutinho & Firmino take on Klopp in table tennis challenge

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The German has earned many admirers over the years not just for being a fantastic manager, but also because he is very laid-back and down to earth.

And such is evidenced in a new video released by Liverpool, in which Klopp takes time away from a busy fixture list to take on Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in a table tennis challenge.

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However, the Reds boss doesn’t take on the weighty task alone as he teams up with Table Tennis Youth Champion Liu Haoyu to face off against his side’s star duo at the club’s Melwood training centre.

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How does the match play out? Well, find out by watching the video above !

Rivaldo: Coutinho would be ideal for Barcelona

The Liverpool playmaker has often been linked with a move to Camp Nou, and his fellow Brazilian believes a deal will be done in the near future

Former Barcelona star Rivaldo has backed Philippe Coutinho to join the Spanish champions from Liverpool.

Coutinho has blossomed into one of the Premier League’s finest talents since joining from Inter for a reported £8.5milllion in January 2013.

The 24-year-old has often been linked with a move to Camp Nou, despite him being contracted to Liverpool until 2020 and a public insistence from manager Jurgen Klopp that he will not be sold.

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But Rivaldo, twice a Liga winner with Barca, believes signing Coutinho to link up with fellow Brazil forward Neymar would be a shrewd move.

“In my opinion, he’s a great player and a player who knows Neymar well,” he told Sky Sports . “I think they are both friends – players who stand out.

“I think that this transfer might happen because Barcelona is always going to attract the best, isn’t it?

“He is one of the players who stands out and I believe that this transfer – if he goes to Barcelona – would be a good thing for Barcelona for sure.

“He is a player who would definitely help Barcelona. Of course, Barcelona is a big club, but with a player like him, it would definitely be a big help.”

Rivaldo went on to admit that he could easily have been lured to the Chinese Super League as a player given the financial benefits on offer.

Carlos Tevez arrived in China this week after agreeing to join Shanghai Shenhua on a contract reportedly worth £615,000 a week, while Rivaldo’s compatriot Oscar is said to earn close to £400,000 a week at Shanghai SIPG.

Oscar’s former Chelsea team-mate Diego Costa has also been heavily linked with a lucrative CSL switch following a rumoured row with manager Antonio Conte.

“Players in that situation think about their future don’t they? About their children and about their family,” said Rivaldo.

“It’s a unique opportunity for a player. Of course, he [Costa] is already in a big club, but this is a unique opportunity and players will always think about the personal side of things.

“Just as the club, you know, the club will have to sell… when they are offered that much money, a club will certainly sell a player.

“So, it’s the same for the player. And I sincerely think that I would calmly go to China.”

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The star was decisive in Liverpool’s FA Cup Third Round win after returning from injury, prompting his boss to heap praise on him and the club’s youth

Jurgen Klopp was pleased with what he saw from Philippe Coutinho in Liverpool’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Plymouth Argyle on Wednesday.

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The Brazil international started for the first time since November following his recovery from injury and set up the only goal at Home Park.

Coutinho showed to be well on the comeback trail following the knock to his ankle as his 18th-minute corner was headed in by Lucas Leiva.

The star managed just over an hour of action before being withdrawn, and Klopp saw plenty of reasons to be optimistic following his display.

“I’m happy, really happy. It was very important for us,” the manager told reporters. “I thought 60 to 65 minutes was the perfect intensity for today. Good for him and good for us.”

Divock Origi missed a late penalty for Liverpool at Home Park, but his team managed to come through their third-round replay.

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Teenagers Ovie Ejaria, Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold started, while Sheyi Ojo and Harry Wilson came off the bench.

“I saw a few really good things but they still have to learn,” Klopp said of his youngsters.

“We are not here to celebrate each single performance of our young players – that’s what we expect, that’s why they play. And then they need to get ready to be criticised.

“I don’t care what you say, but it’s important that they really listen to what we have to say.

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“I liked, for example, the reaction of Ojo tonight. Everybody, maybe, with Ojo involved they expected he would have started if he was in this game tonight as one of the young players, but I was not too happy with one or two things.

“That’s not to say, it’s about something you need to feel and then go again. Today, I thought he made a big difference when he came on, with his speed and there was sharpness involved. He’s a wonderful player but, without sharpness, it’s nothing.

“I’m happy about their potential and we will do whatever we can to let it grow but they have a big job to do, too.”

Liverpool are back in action in the Premier League on Saturday, hosting Swansea City.