Liverpool: The One Obstacle Preventing Barcelona From Signing Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho at DW Stadium, Wigan, England, July 14. Alex Livesey/Getty

Jurgen Klopp is the only obstacle standing between Barcelona signing Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, according to reports.

Barcelona is on the hunt for Neymar’s replacement after selling the Brazilian to Paris Saint-Germain for £198 million (about $257 million) earlier this month.

The La Liga club has identified Coutinho as a potential successor, as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele, but Liverpool has been unwilling to sell.

Barcelona, The Times says, is prepared to pay £120 million for Coutinho but Spanish newspaper Marca says the only obstacle in the deal is Liverpool head coach Klopp, who is doing his best to prevent his club from selling the Brazilian.

Coutinho has been at Anfield since signing from Inter Milan in 2013 for a fee of around £8.5 million. He has been a crucial part since Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015, at the heart of Liverpool’s fluid attack.

Klopp is trying to strengthen his team rather than weaken it. The Liverpool boss has already added Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah to his squad this summer, signing the former Chelsea player for £34 million from Roma.

Related: Can Liverpool Finally Win The Premier League This Season?

The German coach has been keen on bringing Virgil van Dijk to Anfield from Southampton during this transfer window, with the Merseyside club reportedly willing to pay £60 million.

Van Dijk has issued a statement that he wants to leave St. Mary’s with only a few days remaining before the Premier League begins.

Liverpool begins the new season at Vicarage Road against Marco Silva’s Watford, while Southampton hosts Swansea City. Coutinho is unlikely to feature in Hertfordshire, however, due to injury.