Liverpool made great progress under Jurgen Klopp this season and the Reds sealed their minimum objective of returning to the Champions League next term.
Klopp’s side narrowly sealed their spot in the top-four, finishing one point ahead of Arsenal, and it’s clear the Merseyside giants need significant summer activity if they are to compete for major honours next season- especially with both Manchester clubs set to spend heavily.
However, Liverpool’s lack of recent history in European football and their financial restrictions when compared to their rivals makes it difficult for the Reds to maintain a top-class side and keep hold of their key players, with question marks surrounding the future of Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian ace has attracted the interest of Barcelona in recent seasons and the Catalan side’s restructure this summer could see them launch a move- which Liverpool would find incredibly difficult to fend off.
With speculation surrounding Coutinho, we asked our team what they believed would happen with the Brazilian and what it would take to keep him at Anfield.
Sam Cox (@SamRCox)
Liverpool’s summer is more significant than their rivals’.
The club’s creaky 2017 is a concern and – while Champions League football will return to Anfield – they must finally address long-term recruitment issues. Additions like Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip have been splendid, though they now need to replicate that sort of investment throughout the squad to add depth and build a squad capable of holding their own against the might of their top six companions.
Prove they can do remain genuine contenders and Philippe Coutinho will find it much harder to leave the adoring Kop. Equally, clubs are unlikely to move for him just yet as his talent is yet to produce consistently enough.
Josh Challies (@Challies11)
The next year is crucial for Liverpool as they need to cement themselves as top-four regulars and genuine contenders for the Premier League title, rather than being consider a side that will dip in-and-out of the top spots in English football.
Securing Champions League football this weekend was vital to keeping Philippe Coutinho and their chances of keeping the Brazilian long-term likely hinge on the next year, as I do believe he will remain at Anfield this summer- but a move after the World Cup in 2018 is a possibility.
To have any chance of keeping Coutinho, Liverpool need to make a statement of intent this summer by securing big names and showing they can compete with their rivals- which means eyeing players that don’t currently represent lower-ranked sides in the Premier League.
Tom Scholes (@TomScholes316)
Philippe Coutinho is the player that Jurgen Klopp should be looking to build his team around in the summer, and he must do everything in his power to keep him at Anfield. If Barcelona come in for the Brazilian, he will find it hard to turn it down because who doesn’t want to play for Barcelona?
That being said, I do think Coutinho will stick around for yet another season. I doubt he would jump ship just went Liverpool are set to return to the Champions League, and Klopp needs to give him the players around him to make it similar to Eden Hazard at Chelsea.
Shane Burns (@MediaShaneBurns)
Ultimately, whether Liverpool fans care to admit it or not, the Merseysiders are a selling club and are unable to either keep hold of world-class players, or attract them.
It’s impossible to see how Liverpool can keep Coutinho if Barcelona come calling. Their name/brand is the only thing big about Liverpool these days.