Liverpool CEO Peter Moore Says He Cannot Rule Out Philippe Coutinho Leaving

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2017

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho runs to celebrate scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on December 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore has admitted he cannot rule out Philippe Coutinho leaving the club. 

The playmaker was the subject of offers from Barcelona in the summer and even handed in a transfer request, but the club managed to keep hold of him.

Speaking to Reds legend Jamie Carragher and Geoff Shreeves for Sky Sports, Moore said (h/t Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo): "As far as I'm concerned, the squad we have right now is the squad that we're going to have going into January. I don't have a crystal ball, I don’t know what is going to happen, but Philippe Coutinho is a dedicated, intense Liverpool player right now and he is delivering."

Moore also said "nothing I'm going to say" would add to Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group's statement on the club's official website in the summer that the Brazil international is not for sale, per Sky Sports PL:

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was recently asked about Coutinho's future and did little to inspire confidence Liverpool's No. 10 will be staying, per The Times' Paul Joyce:

According to Mundo Deportivo's Xavier Munoz, (h/t Jack Staplehurst of the Daily Star), the Brazilian has agreed a five-year deal with Barcelona, the terms of which are still applicable if he signs in January.

Liverpool ensured he stayed put in the summer and have been rewarded with nine goals, seven assists and a series of fine performances. Coutinho has linked up superbly with team-mates Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane since returning from a back injury that kept him sidelined until mid-September.

He scored his first hat-trick for the club against Spartak Moscow on Wednesday as the Reds won 7-0 in the UEFA Champions League. WhoScored.com provided the numbers behind his showing:

Performances like that will only further endear him to the likes of Barcelona, but they also reiterate his importance to Liverpool, even if he has been outshone by the likes of Salah at times this season.

Given the lengths Liverpool went to in order to keep him in the summer, it would seem strange to allow him to depart in January given he will be key to determining where they finish in the Premier League and how far they will progress in the Champions League.

What's more, moving to Barcelona this winter would prevent him from being involved in the latter competition until next season, though with the Blaugrana five points clear at the top of La Liga, they can offer a strong chance of winning major silverware.

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