Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool are big enough to keep Coutinho out of Barcelona grasp, says Rodgers

By Phil Blanche

Brendan Rodgers insists his former club Liverpool hold the power over Philippe Coutinho's future. Barcelona have seemingly identified Coutinho as the man to replace his fellow Brazilian Neymar, who joined Paris St. Germain for a world-record £200.6million transfer fee last week.

Liverpool have rejected a £90million offer from Barcelona, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp going on record to say his prize asset is not for sale.

And Rodgers - who signed Coutinho from Inter Milan for £8.5million in 2013 during his time in charge at Anfield - is adamant that Liverpool do not have to sell the 25-year-old playmaker.

"Philippe Coutinho is a world-class player but the power in the position is with Liverpool," said the Celtic manager.

"Phil has signed a new contract. He's always going to have other clubs that want him.

"But Liverpool don't have to sell him if they don't want to. So the power is very much with them.

"Liverpool's a fantastic club and I know he really enjoys it there.

"He's got great supporters and a great manager, so I'm sure he would be very happy there."

Rodgers also brought Gylfi Sigurdsson to Swansea before he left for Liverpool in June 2012.

Sigurdsson, initially signed on loan, returned to Swansea in 2014 after spending two seasons at Tottenham.

Everton remain determined to sign Sigurdsson but have yet to match Swansea's £50m valuation for the Icelandic midfielder.

"I think you always have to be prepared to lose your best players," Ulsterman Rodgers said of Swansea's situation.

"It's something that happens, particularly in the modern game."

Rodgers also remains convinced that Swansea will have targets lined up to replace Sigurdsson.

"I'm sure the scouting team behind the scenes will bring in the people they want to," he said.

"The strength at Swansea has always been the team and the players and supporters together. That has been proven over many years.

"Gylfi's an outstanding player and if he was to go I know it would be with a heavy heart. I took him to Swansea on loan and I know how much it means to him."

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