The representative of Philippe Coutinho has indicated that Barcelona have no plans of sanctioning the attacker’s sale despite the speculation in the media. The Brazil international had a mixed campaign with the Blaugrana last term and he was particularly disappointing in the league where he managed just five goals and two assists.
Amidst this, the Blaugrana have been actively pursuing the services of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid and reports have emerged that they could sanction the sale of Coutinho to balance the books. When asked about the speculation over the Brazilian’s future, agent Kia Joorabchian said that he has already spoken with the Blaugrana hierarchy and there remains no chance of the attacker parting ways with the club, he told: “I talked a few days ago with Pep Segura at Barcelona. He told me that the club does not want to sell Coutinho this summer, no matter what.”
Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson has urged the club’s supporters to relax and enjoy the Premier League run-in for the Merseyside outfit. The Reds dropped points for the second league game on the bounce at West Ham United and this has reduced their advantage over Manchester City at the top to just three points.
Speaking after the game, Robertson highlighted that the team are not nervous regarding the title challenge and remains confident that the club can push for their maiden Premier League crown this term, he said: “I wouldn’t say nerves are showing – did anyone say that when City picked up no points at Palace and Leicester? I don’t think they did. It’s no different for us. A lot of people talk about pressure because we’ve never been in this position but it’s February. I think everyone needs to relax and try and enjoy the run-in if you’re fans. Many other teams would want to be in the position we’re in just now, so, nerves aren’t showing in the changing room.”
Guinea international Naby Keita has admitted his motivation to succeed with Liverpool after making the switch to the Premier League during the summer. The 23-year-old has been a constant presence in the Reds midfield since the start of the season and he has now set the aim of improving on the personal scale with the Merseyside giants.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I’m the kind of person who thinks that if I score eight goals in one season my objective must be to score nine goals in the following season. That’s the kind of mentality I have. First and foremost, I should say that I’m very much a team player and I always think about the team first. The Premier League is different to other leagues where I have played and everybody knows it is very tough, but I will do my best to beat my own personal records – I’m very motivated.”
Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Ian Wright has backed Liverpool to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title this season. The Reds made a strong start to the campaign as they beat West Ham United by a comfortable 4-0 scoreline and Wright believes they are capable of challenging the Citizens, although the Premier League may not be a two-horse race.
He told The Sun: “No one is daft enough to think the Premier League is a two-horse race one game into a nine-month season. It’s the equivalent of calling the winner of the Grand National as they’re still clearing the first fence. But after seeing Manchester City and Liverpool in action this weekend, you can bank on one thing – however many are still in it come mid-May, those pair are certs to be involved. In just two weeks City have systematically dismantled Chelsea and Arsenal – two teams that will be up at the top end – with the minimum of fuss.”