PSG face further transfer failure if they pursue Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho

The Reds’ highest-paid player signed a new five-year deal without a release clause in January and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer

Liverpool have fielded no enquiries from Paris Saint-Germain over Philippe Coutinho and have reiterated none would be welcomed nor entertained over the Brazil international.

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The Ligue 1 side made advances to the 25-year-old’s camp last summer and he has again featured on the club’s list of elite targets  – a move understood to be driven by Olivier Letang, their former sporting director who now works alongside the player’s agent Kia Joorabchian.

HD Phil Coutinho

Coutinho, who will report back to Merseyside for pre-season training on Tuesday after an extended break given his international exertions, is perhaps more unattainable than Kylian Mbappe – PSG’s priority objective in the window.

The teenage sensation is considering an exit from Monaco, which would set a new world-record fee, with Real Madrid in prime position to sign him whether that happens this year or next.

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Liverpool’s highest-paid player, meanwhile, affirmed his commitment to the club by signing a new five-year deal without a release clause in January.

Coutinho is not for sale and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer with Barcelona already having to shelve their long-term drive for him.

Coutinho, Liverpool

If the French club continue to covet the Brazilian and make a play for him ahead of 2017-18, their recruitment frustrations will only be enhanced.

PSG’s first-choice target had been Alexis Sanchez, as was the case last year, but the Chile international wants to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Latest from the PSG camp

They had then focused their efforts on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but new sporting director Antero Henrique pulled the plug on a deal he felt was excessive for the 28-year-old.

Mbappe is now the main order of business, but the club are aware they are not likely to add him as an incomer, with only left-back Yuri Berchiche signed thus far.

Kylian Mbappe Monaco

Chasing Coutinho would thus only serve as a further waste of time and energy, but it is understood that James Rodriguez could finally provide PSG with some joy in the window.

The club opened talks with Madrid at the start of July over the Colombian, with a move to the Parc des Princes currently looking favourable.

Unai Emery is hoping to make three more purchases in addition to Berchiche before the season kicks off.

Coutinho will certainly not be one of those.

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Coutinho hailed as Liverpool’s ‘jewel in the crown’ by club legend Johnston

The Brazilian has emerged as a key performer at Anfield, with his attributes on and off the field considered to be crucial to the collective cause

Philippe Coutinho is a “genius” and Liverpool’s “jewel in the crown”, according to club legend Craig Johnston.

The Reds have seen the Brazilian playmaker mature into a talismanic presence at Anfield.

His ability has never been in question, but he is now an on-field leader and a calming presence away from the pitch.

No Liverpool bid for Arsenal’s Ox

Johnston considers him to be among the best in the business and a vital part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans, amid ongoing talk of interest from the likes of Barcelona.

The former Reds midfielder, who won five First Division titles and the European Cup during his playing days, told the club’s official website: “Philippe Coutinho is an absolute jewel in the crown.

“Not only does he have the clever bits, the genius, but he has the running mentality – he keeps running and keeps running.

“He’s the best of both worlds. This boy is so nice off the field as well, I met him in America when Brazil were playing.

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Craig Johnston

“He’s just perfection, there’s nothing wrong with any of his make-up. He’s as good as it gets in a football package [because of] his mentality as well.”

Coutinho contributed 13 goals to Liverpool’s Premier League cause in 2016-17, helping them to a top-four finish.

They are now preparing for a return to Champions League competition, with Johnston seeing plenty of cause for optimism under Klopp.

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He added: “I thought it was a really good season for us.

“[More] goals than last year, fewer goals conceded, more games won, fewer games lost, more points than the season before. 

“Jurgen Klopp took a couple of seasons at Dortmund, they finished fifth and sixth, and then they obviously won the league a couple of times after that.”

Did they discuss Barcelona? Neymar hangs out with Liverpool star Coutinho again

The Reds forward has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou, with his Brazil international colleague regularly talking up a possible transfer

Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho has been hanging out with Neymar again amid ongoing talk of a possible move to Barcelona.

The pair are international team-mates with Brazil and share a close friendship.

Tite: Coutinho perfect for Barca

With both currently enjoying a well-earned summer break, they have taken the opportunity to catch up – with Coutinho’s Anfield colleague Roberto Firmino tagging along.

It remains to be seen whether they will ever work together at club level, but they clearly enjoy each other’s company.

Neymar has talked up a possible move to Camp Nou for Coutinho in the past.

He told the Daily Mail in March : “A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho.

“I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona.”

Coutinho planning on Liverpool stay

Coutinho has, however, sought to distance himself from the rumours after penning a new contract with Liverpool in January.

He told ESPN Brasil on the Barca links : “A lot of people ask me about that, but I have contract with Liverpool, I’ve just signed a long-term contract, so the speculation stays with you, journalists.”

Coutinho’s efforts in 2016-17 saw him spark the transfer talk, with his most productive season to date delivering 14 goals in all competitions and seven Premier League assists.

Mane as important as ‘exceptional’ Coutinho for Liverpool, believes former Reds star Fowler

The former Reds striker believes the pair are equally important to Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League hopes next season

Sadio Mane is just as important to the Liverpool attack as the “exceptional” Philippe Coutinho, according to club legend Robbie Fowler.

Liverpool still in for Salah

Mane and Coutinho shared top spot in Liverpool’s goalscoring charts with 13 Premier League strikes apiece last season, as Jurgen Klopp’s men sealed Champions League qualification by finishing fourth in the final table.

Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona on the back of a stellar season but Fowler – who scored 183 goals for Liverpool across two spells at the club – believes Mane is as crucial to his old club’s hopes of success.

“Liverpool are blessed with some absolutely unbelievable players,” Fowler told Omnisport. “If you look at the likes Coutinho and Mane, both stood out last year.

“Mane was probably the standout player and equally as important as Coutinho. Coutinho has had a wonderful two or three years where he’s been exceptional.

“He scores goals and he is the pinnacle of everything that is good with Liverpool, he’s exciting to watch. We like to think that we want the team to stay exciting and he’s massively important and we need him to be on top of his game as he has been.”

Fowler insists Klopp must keep players such as Mane and Coutinho at Anfield if Liverpool are to win the league title for the first time since the 1989-90 campaign.

“We all know there’s a massive summer coming up,” added Fowler, who also played for Leeds United and Manchester City in the Premier League.

“I think the objective of this season was getting in to the Champions League. Ideally we wanted to win the league but it became apparent we were never going to do that. The important thing is we got to the Champions League.

“I think this club needs and deserves to be playing there. The expectations every season will be very high, we want to do as well as we can.

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“Last year the squad was not as strong as what we’d like as Liverpool supporters but I’m sure there’s going to be a few players added this year.

“It’s important that we keep the players that we’ve got and we add to the squad.”

Thiago Silva’s back but is Coutinho in too deep? Five talking points from Australia 0-4 Brazil

We look back at the major talking points after the Selecao sailed to a comprehensive victory in front of nearly 50,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground


GOALANALYSIS


Brazil rounded off their Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour stop in Australia on Tuesday with a comprehensive 4-0 demolition of their hosts in front of nearly 50,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

With just four of Tite’s regular starting XI having joined the squad this month, the goal of the week in Australia, which started with a 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday, was to experiment with different systems and take a closer look at some of those on the periphery of the squad.


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IN STATS: Australia 0-4 Brazil |  WATCH: How Tite transformed Brazil   | REPORT: Australia 0-4 Brazil


Goals from Thiago Silva, Taison and a double for striker Diego Souza made it 10 wins in 11 matches for Tite as Brazil boss.

Below, we look back at some of the main talking points from the MCG.


THIAGO SILVA: BACK FOR GOOD


Brazil Australia Thiago Silva 13062017

There was a time not too long ago when it seemed Thiago Silva’s time with Brazil was up. Banished from the squad for over a year by previous coach Dunga, prior to this week he had not made a start for his country since June 2015. With Tite preferring his defensive line to play high, the PSG stopper has had to make do with a substitute’s roll over the last year.

He returned this week, however, as captain against Argentina and turned in another solid, assured performance on Tuesday. He still has some work to do to oust preferred centre-back pairing of Marquinhos and Miranda, but is now certainly back in the running for a starting berth at next year’s World Cup.


DAVID LUIZ: NEW BEGINNINGS


David Luiz Brazil Australia 13062017

David Luiz was another to feel Dunga’s cold shoulder. He hadn’t made a single Brazil squad since March 2016, but was brought back this month following an impressive return to form with Chelsea. Last month, Tite told Brasil Global Tour that he was interested in experimenting with the “versatile” Luiz in a different position.

He returned to the starting line-up on Tuesday in a defensive midfield role, often dropping to form a back-three or to cover for Thiago Silva. He was booked on the night and conceded five fouls. It was not a standout performance, but his ability to halt counter-attacks and play the first pass out of defence could yet see him secure a long-term return to the squad.


DIEGO SOUZA: TWO STEPS FORWARD


Diego Souza Brasil x Austrália 13 06 17

An injury to Gabriel Jesus against Argentina left Sport’s Diego Souza as Tite’s only available orthodox centre-forward, and he took his chance with both hands at the MCG, scoring twice and moving himself up the pecking order to second-choice centre-forward.

The 31-year-old, who under Tite became the first player from Brazil’s under-represented North-East to be called up for a competitive Brazil fixture for 16 years, is now fighting it out with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino for the role as backup No.9. Singled out by local media as the man of the match, his strength and presence provided a fixed focal point for the attack, with his impressive approach play also seeing him make two key passes.


PHILIPPE COUTINHO: IN TOO DEEP?


Brazil Australia Coutinho 13062017

Philippe Coutinho has been one of the big winners of the Tite reign. For years he was left roaming the outskirts, unable to break into a team blessed with attacking talent. The Liverpool man is the only player to break into Tite’s preferred first XI since the coach’s June 2016 arrival, and on Tuesday had the chance to oust another as he replaced Renato Augusto in a deep midfield role.

Tite had been impressed by Coutinho’s Premier League performances in central midfield at the tail end of the season and was given the captain’s armband on Tuesday has moved into the heart of the action for the Selecao. He was a constant threat driving at the Aussies and made three key passes, but would likely prefer to be doing his work closer to the opposition goal.


CHANGING FACES


Brazil Australia 13062017

Tite told Brasil Global Tour last month that he and his coaching staff were closely “observing 50-60 players” around the world as they seek to continue Brazil’s evolution prior to World Cup 2018. He made no less than eight changes to the team that met Argentina last week, with an entirely new spine formed of goalkeeper Diego Alves, defender Thiago Silva, holding midfielder David Luiz, central midfielder Coutinho and striker Diego Souza.

And the coach will have much to ponder after a number of impressive performances. Full-backs Alex Sandro and Rafinha largely impressed, as did substitute Taison, whose pace gave Brazil an extra dimension following his introduction. “It was the time for everyone to have their opportunities,” said Tite. “We had a performance and a result in this game. Against Argentina, we had only the performance and not the result.”

WATCH: ‘Creativity without organisation is a mess’ – Tite

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Brazil coach Tite insisted he will continue to hold tight to the reins of his team, declaring he prioritises organisation above creativity except in the forward third.

Speaking ahead of the Selecao’s friendly against Australia in Melbourne, Tite argued he loves the creativity of his players but won’t let that have a negative impact on Brazil’s order on the pitch.

David Luiz, Coutinho’s new roles for Brazil

Since taking over as Brazil’s coach in June 2016, Tite has won nine of 10 matches, ensuring his team became the first to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and leading them from ninth to first in FIFA’s rankings.

“Creativity without organisation in a team creates a mess,” Tite said on Monday.

“This is not what I think about football and how I want my teams to play football.”

Philippe Coutinho Ever Banega Brazil v Argentina Friendly 09062017

Philippe Coutinho, Brazil

Brazil will play their second friendly in Melbourne in five days on Tuesday after losing 1-0 to Argentina last week.

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Tite’s men will be led by Philippe Coutinho against the Socceroos, with Thiago Silva having worn the captain’s armband in Neymar’s absence versus Argentina.

The Liverpool midfielder was thrilled at the news, which came on his 25th birthday and praised his 56-year-old coach for improving Brazil’s confidence.

The Selecao were at a low ebb following Dunga’s sacking having failed to get out of their group at the Copa America Centenario, less than 12 months after a quarter-final exit at the 2015 Copa America.

“I think when he [Tite] arrived he gave us confidence,” Coutinho told reporters.

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“The team has grown up and we’ve started to win matches.

“Now we are at another level.”

‘I have a contract with Liverpool’ – Coutinho rejects Barcelona speculation

The Brazilian has again been linked with move to the Catalan club, only to dismiss the reports and reiterate his commitment to the Reds

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho has moved to distance himself from a move to Barcelona, insisting his focus remains with the Anfield club.

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The Brazil international has long been linked with a transfer to Barca, such was his impact under Jurgen Klopp in the 2016-17 Premier League campaign. 

Coutinho enjoyed his best season at Liverpool since arriving from Inter in January 2013, scoring 13 Premier League goals and registering seven assists.

The 25-year-old has signed a long-term contract, believed to run until 2022, but has continually been linked with a switch to Camp Nou and has once again moved to rule out a move.

“Talking about this is complicated,” Coutinho told reporters. “I have a contract with my club and it is long.

“So my focus is on the present and the national team. My focus is here.”

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Premier League

Coutinho is currently away with the Brazil squad in Australia and was involved in the 1-0 defeat to Argentina on Friday.

Despite the midfielder persistently denying rumours linking him with La Liga, national team boss Tite believes that he would prove to be a huge signing for Barcelona.

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“It absolutely makes sense for me that Barcelona are after him,” Tite previously told Sport

“I do not want to be pretentious about Barcelona, but who would not want a player like Coutinho, with his magic, his ability to invent and create, to change the rhythm and to build play?”

New roles for Coutinho and David Luiz in new-look Brazil

Coach Tite is set to make 8 changes for the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour clash with Australia on Tuesday in an experimental side at the MCG

Brazil coach Tite is ready to make some big changes to his starting line-up to face Australia on Tuesday, in a shuffle that will see David Luiz and Thiago Silva reunited for their country for the first time in almost two years.

The Selecao meet the Socceroos at Melbourne Cricket Ground in the second of their Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header in Australia, four days after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Argentina in front of over 95,000 people at the same venue.


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On Sunday, the players returned to the Lakeside Stadium for training and worked with a starting line-up that included 8 changes from the team that face Argentina.

David Luiz will operate as a holding midfielder, replacing Fernandinho, and appears set to be charged with playing the first ball out of defence and dropping back at time to form a back-three.

Valencia’s Diego Alves is set for his first start in goal since November 2014, when Brazil saw off Austria 2-1 in a Brasil Global Tour match-up in Vienna.

Elenco e Tite Brasil Melbourne 2017

He has received his first call-up of the Tite era and has impressed goalkeeping coach Taffarel in training this week. Tuesday represents a huge chance for him with the goalkeeper position ostensibly the only one truly up for grabs, as regular first-choice Alisson has seen very little action for club Roma this season.

Bayern Munich’s Rafinha has been selected to start at right-back after impressing during his substitute performance against Argentina, while Rodrigo Caio will replace Gil at the heart of the defence.

Filipe Luis will make way for Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, and Giuliano and Douglas Costa will replace Renato Augusto and Willian respectively.

Ahead of the trip to Australia, coach Tite told Brasil Global Tour he was considering deploying Coutinho in a different role, moving him deeper in the midfield where he has impressed with Liverpool.

Coutinho played in that role briefly against Argentina and looks set to start there against Australia, replacing Renato Augusto in the centre of a midfield two.

Giuliano and Douglas Costa will play wide, while Diego Souza will lead the attack as the lone centre-forward, replacing Gabriel Jesus after the Manchester City man suffered a facial fracture on Friday which has ruled him out.

Tite will stay true to his word by attempting to use the players in roles most familiar to them at club level, but has admitted concerns that the number of changes could severely disrupt the collective functionality of the side.

Prediected Brazil XI to face Australia: Diego Alves; Rafinha, Thiago Silva, Rodrigo Caio, Alex Sandro; David Luiz; Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho, Giuliano, Douglas Costa; Diego Souza.

Willian’s return & misfiring Messi – Five talking points from Brazil 0-1 Argentina

We look back at the major talking points after the Selecao suffered a narrow defeat to their old rivals in front of over 95,000 in Melbourne


GOALANALYSIS


Brazil returned to Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour action on Friday for the first time under coach Tite, hosting old rivals Argentina in front of a record-breaking, sell-out crowd of over 95,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.


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WATCH: How Tite transformed Brazil  | REPORT: Brazil 0-1 Argentina | IN STATS: Brazil 0-1 Argentina


The Selecao went down 1-0 on the night, suffering their first defeat since the former Corinthians man took the reins in June 2016.

Below, Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour looks back at the major talking points from the clash.


VERSATILE COUTINHO


All the focus in the absence of Neymar shifted to Philippe Coutinho, and the Liverpool star certainly didn’t hide. He had to wait a long time for a starting role for his country and was relishing the challenge of taking on a leading role. There was talk of him being deployed in a deep midfield role against Argentina, but instead he started wide right before moving centrally following the second-half introduction of Douglas Costa. He could find himself in a different role on Tuesday against Australia.


WILLIAN IS BACK


Throughout Tite’s 12 months in charge of Brazil, Willian is the only member of his initial starting line-up to lose his place through anything other than injury or suspension. He lost his place to the emerging Coutinho but could well be playing himself back into the team this month. He was roundly regarded as the Selecao’s best player on the night, earning rave reviews in the local media.


DEFEAT AT LAST


Mercado, Messi, Argentina - Brasil, Friendlies, 09062017

The run is over. After nine consecutive victories (including January’s friendly win over Colombia in a match restricted to domestic-based players), Tite’s on 100 per cent record has come to an end. However, it could hardly have ended in better circumstances. With just four of his preferred first XI in the squad this month, and against an Argentina desperate to impress their new coach, the result will cause no alarm, particularly when coupled with the satisfactory performance of the Brazil side on the night.


MISFIRING MAESTROS


Brazil saw considerably less of the ball than Argentina on the night, and played some 200 fewer passes than the new-look Sampaoli-led hermanos. They had four more attempts at goal than Lionel Messi and co., however, and both Tite and the players believe they did more than enough to get something out of the game. Willian and Gabriel Jesus will both feel they should have scored in what was the first game under Tite where the Selecao have failed to find the net.


KEEPING MESSI QUIET


Lionel Messi Brazil v Argentina World Cup qualifying 10112016

While Argentina won the match, it was not a vintage Lionel Messi performance. That the Barcelona man didn’t meet his usual incredibly-high standards was understandable under a new coach revolutionising the setup, however, and that Argentina won without some magic from Messi will be of comfort to new coach Jorge Sampaoli. The Barcelona man often struggled to get free of Fernandinho, and Paulinho, in another disciplined midfield performance that largely pleased Tite. Messi has only found the net in four of his nine matches against Brazil.

WATCH: In his own words – How Tite transformed Brazil

From Neymar’s resurgence to Coutinho’s arrival and the surprise rise of Gabriel Jesus – the Selecao coach explains how he changed everything


EXCLUSIVE


Brazil coach Tite has found the Midas touch, heralded back home as a miracle-man. The former Corinthians boss took the reins in June 2016 with A Selcao still reeling from ‘the 7-1’, languishing in sixth place in World Cup qualifying following two disastrous Copa America campaigns.

Just one year on, the five-time world champions have been transformed, racing to eight consecutive victories that saw Brazil become the first team to qualify for Russia 2018. The Selecao have gone from national disappointments to World Cup favourites.

How has he done it? How has Neymar replicated his club form on the international stage? How did Philippe Coutinho finally become a star for country as well as club? And how did Gabriel Jesus emerge so quickly?

To understand how Tite has totally transformed Brazil in just one year in charge, Brasil Global Tour sat down with the 56-year-old at CBF headquarters in Rio to hear the secrets of his success.

Watch part 1 and part 2 of exclusive interview below.