Why Keeping Coutinho Could Cement Liverpool's Place Among EPL Elite
In the past decade, despite Liverpool's prestigious reputation as a football club, the Reds have been viewed by the world as more of a selling club than a true player in Europe's premier competitions.
The Liverpool side that finished runners-up to Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the 2008/09 season was arguably one of the best teams in the world, packed to the gills with world class quality in every department.
With Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres and everyone in between, Rafa Benitez had assembled perhaps the greatest group of players to fail to win their league since Real Madrid's Galacticos of 2003/04.
However, as a poorly-run ownership and a lack of silverware became an increasingly prominent issue at Anfield, the Reds' top talent began to move away from the red side of Merseyside.
In a period of decline between 2009 and 2011 Liverpool lost the services of Alvaro Arbeloa, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres with only the latter ever being properly replaced.
After a period of rebuilding their squad, the Reds once again managed to find themselves with a wealth of top class players amongst their ranks, firing them to second in the league once again.
As it happened, history repeated itself, as Liverpool saw Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling move on to ostensibly greener pastures, as well as sanctioning the departure of club talisman, Steven Gerrard.
It has only been through the appointment of Jurgen Klopp that Liverpool have seen a true resurgence in ambition and status, seeing their football improve and in turn, their stance as a club in the transfer market.
Before Klopp's arrival, many fans had resigned themselves to losing fan favourite Philippe Coutinho just as they had lost Suarez and Sterling to rival clubs. However, that is likely no longer the case, despite major interest in the Brazilian midfielder emanating from Barcelona's camp.
Such is the case with Coutinho and Barca, as is the case with Emre Can and Juventus; Liverpool are adamant they will not sell their prime talent and, with such an ambitious and ever-growing project at Anfield, it is more than likely the players themselves will be inclined to stay and ply their trade under Klopp.
The return to Champions League football is a good indication Liverpool are heading in the right direction, and their ambition in the transfer market perfectly epitomises just how far the Merseyside outfit have come since their temporary decline.
The club have ousted a regressive attitude from within the club that has seemingly been ever-present since the appointment of Roy Hodgson, transforming themselves from a fallen giant into one of England's, if not Europe's, bigger clubs.
Evidence of this is prominent throughout the club's behaviour and pulling power in the transfer market. Big names such as Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita have had their heads turned as a result of Klopp identifying them as key targets.
Furthermore, the signing of Mohamed Salah from Serie A runners-up AS Roma is a very good indication of just how highly the club is now thought of amongst top players.
All told, Liverpool retaining the services of the likes of Coutinho is as much a statement of intent as any marquee signing, especially when a club with the pedigree and status of Barcelona come calling.
Though as much as the Blaugrana are willing to offer, it will not be enough to test Liverpool's resolve, who have made it perfectly clear to all involved: Coutinho will stay at Anfield.