Ex-Newcastle United legend and Football pundit Alan Shearer has boldly claimed that Liverpool may have agreed to sell their talisman Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona as far back as last summer - ahead of the tenacious Brazilian's long anticipated switch to the Catalan giants.
Speaking on the BBC, via the Daily Star, the former England striker gave his verdict on the long-running transfer saga that has seen the 25-year-old linked with a move away from Anfield since Barcelona stepped-up their chase for a successor to Neymar last summer. Shearer said:
"We don’t know whether something was done at the beginning of the season and they’ve said to him ‘Look, give us six months and we’ll let you go in January. To be fair to him, I don’t think anyone can question his attitude in the last five or six months.”
Appearing alongside Shearer, ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy also gave his opinion on the departing Coutinho, contending that he was perhaps overvalued given the relatively few goals he's scored for the club. Murphy said:
"He’s a player who hasn’t scored as many goals as you’d expect for a player of that quality. If you think of the likes of Neymar and Suarez. But he wants to go doesn’t he, he wants to go.”
Liverpool look set to receive around £105m upfront for the Brazil international, while a further £35m is likely to be paid in additional bonuses. Jürgen Klopp has wasted no time reinvesting the money - snapping up central defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75m.
On the field, the Reds triumphed over their Merseyside rivals Everton in Friday night's FA Cup third round, with van Dijk scoring the winning goal late on to give his new side a 2-1 victory.
Jürgen Klopp's side now head to Abu Dhabi to recover from their strenuous festive fixtures, before facing off against Pep Guardiola's unbeaten league leaders Man City next weekend.